Construction sites are among the most dangerous workplaces in New York, with high rates of serious injuries and fatalities. Many of the hazards that cause so many injuries and deaths are avoidable, so long as safety precautions and procedures are properly followed. OSHA standards offer instructions on how to avoid many of these injuries and illnesses that come from working at a construction site. Violations of these standards create dangerous environments where accidents are more likely to occur.
Scaffolds are among the most dangerous work environments at a construction site. OSHA violations involving scaffolds are, unfortunately, very common and often result in a serious injury or even fatality. Simple solutions to follow OSHA standards include properly setting up a scaffold so that it is sound, rigid, and can support its own weight plus four times the maximum intended load without shifting. Scaffolds should never be set up on unstable objects like bricks or boxes and must always have guardrails. They should be frequently inspected to ensure they are free of defects and damage and must be at least 10 feet from electric power lines.
Fall protection seems like an obvious safety precaution, yet OSHA violations regarding it are staggeringly high. Falls account for the highest number of fatalities at construction sites and could often be avoided by constructing guard rails for platforms and making sure floor holds are covered. Safety nets or fall arrest systems should always be used for workers at high elevations, and all workers should be properly trained regarding safe practices while working at heights.
Ladders and stairways at construction sites are also common sources of OSHA violations. The correct type of ladder should always be used for a particular task, and they should be inspected regularly for defects or damage. Ladders should never be loaded beyond maximum intended load and metallic ones should not be used around electric power lines. Stairways need to remain free of debris and obstructions, must be well-lit, and should always be inspected for slippery conditions.
Information and communication are important for any workplace, but especially a construction site. OSHA standards set how workers should be informed about proper safety precautions and educated on how to handle potentially dangerous substances or use powerful machinery. Violations regarding proper education and information are all too common and can result in workers unknowingly acting in dangerous ways.
If you or someone you love has been injured at a construction site due to New York OSHA violations, then call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP today at (212) 986-7353. Tell us about your situation and we can help you understand your options.