Construction companies in Missouri and Kansas have many responsibilities when it comes to the safety and health of their employees. They must provide work environments that are free of known hazards, and allow workers to communicate and report unanticipated dangers they come across. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes safety guidelines and regulations to cover almost all known hazards, and employers must provide the necessary safety training while also ensuring compliance with federal safety rules.
If you work in the construction industry, you will know that the list of potential hazards is endless. Unfortunately, not all employers prioritize employee safety, and it might be up to you to look after your own safety.
Dangerous aspects of construction sites
If you become familiar with the dangers you might face on the construction site, you might know which precautions you can take to avoid injury. The following are the primary hazards that are typically present on construction sites:
- Trenches: You’ likely want to learn all you can about trench safety because it is one of the most dangerous areas of any job site. Never enter a trench that has no cave-in protection, which could include shoring or sloping the walls or installing a trench box that can prevent wall collapses. You can research many other hazards, such as unsafe atmospheres in deep trenches, and the risk of items falling from above.
- Scaffolding: When you have to work on scaffolding, make sure the structure is sturdy and balanced. It must stand on a solid foundation and be strong enough to carry the weight of all the workers, equipment and materials. Only qualified workers should erect and dismantle scaffolds, and they must ensure to clear the required safe area when working near overhead power lines.
- Lift trucks: Working on and around forklifts are risky, and whether you operate a mechanical lift truck or move about in the area where forklifts operate, make sure you know the applicable safety guidelines. This includes the maintenance requirements and the safety rules for stacking, loading and driving the machine.
- Cranes: Never operate a crane before doing a proper safety check – not only on the machine itself but also on any chains, hooks or ropes attached to it. Furthermore, make sure you do not lift a load over areas where other workers or the public move about.
- Electricity: Do not work on live electricity and stay clear of overhead cables. Check electrical equipment for defects before you use it, and check for insulation and grounding of all tools and electrical sources.
- Ladders and stairways: These can sometimes be hazardous areas that can cause severe injuries. Damaged steps, debris and broken handrails make stairs dangerous, and missing or damaged rungs on ladders can lead to falls with severe consequences.
- Eye hazards: Jobs on construction sites can include sanding, grinding and welding, all of which require eye protection.
While you can do a lot to stay safe, accidents on construction sites will always be a possibility. If you suffer work-related injuries, make sure you get the necessary medical attention and report the incident to your employer as soon as possible. Additionally, you may wish to take other steps aimed at getting the ball rolling for the pursuit of workers’ compensation benefits. Resources are available to assist with the navigation of the sometimes complicated claims process.