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What are the Most Common Safety Violations at Construction Sites?

By Butler Prather LLP on December 19, 2017

Working in construction remains one of the most dangerous occupations in America. The men and women who build our nation have the right to expect that every precaution be taken to ensure their safety at work. Accidents on construction sites are frequently preventable. Here are the most common safety violations found at construction sites that contribute to accidents and injuries.

#1. Fall Protection Violations

The most common cause of accidents at a construction site, and the most common safety violations cited, are failures to provide adequate protection from falls. Employers are required to provide fall precaution systems that are strong enough to support employees safely and have protected sides and edges. Improperly constructed scaffolding contributes to 4,500 injuries and 50 deaths each year. Scaffolding is an important part of almost every construction project, and when not attended to correctly can create a risk of injury and death.

In addition to scaffolds, openings in walls and floors are often cited as safety violations. Portable ladders are intuitively easy to use, so proper training in how to use them safely is often overlooked. The unsafe use of ladders is another very common safety violation cited by inspectors.

#2. Failure to Properly Communicate Hazards

A construction site is home to many dangerous chemicals. When handled properly, these chemicals are safe to use and help accomplish many tasks that would otherwise be extremely time-consuming or even impossible. A frequent safety violation is a failure to properly communicate the hazards and necessary precautions in using these chemicals. Employers are responsible for clearly communicating the proper procedures for handling dangerous chemicals as well as warning of the risks of not following the proper procedures.

#3. Improperly Grounded Electric Systems

Providing electricity on an active construction site takes careful planning and care so that all wires and electrical systems are properly grounded to ensure worker safety. Electrocution is a very real hazard and damaged wiring, insulation breaks, and exposed wires can all create a situation where workers are at risk of grievous injury or death. In fact, a recent OSHA fine for an exposed power line amounted to $105k. Failing to take the proper safety measures for electrical wires and equipment is a regular source of safety violations at a construction site.

#4. Respiratory Hazard Violations

The air at a construction site is often filled with fumes, dust, vapors, and other materials that are hazardous to breathe. Employers are responsible for their employees’ safety by providing respirators that are adequate to protect them from air-borne dangers. Different types of respirators are used in different environments and the proper respirator must be used at all times when there is a risk of breathing in harmful materials. Employers failing to provide adequate respiratory protection is a frequently cited safety violation.

The laws put in place to provide a safe work environment for construction workers have helped prevent many injuries and saved many lives. When an employer violates those safety provisions, they expose their employees to unnecessary risk of injury and death. Eliminating these common safety violations would prevent many more injuries and deaths each year.

If you or loved one was injured at a construction site because of negligence, contact the Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Butler Prather LLP about your case! Call us today at (404) 321-1700

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