The construction industry is an emerging industry having a huge contribution to the social and economical development of a nation. Construction work is generally risky and tedious because it involves heavy equipment, tools, machinery and hazardous substances. Construction accidents refer to the accidents that are occurred at the construction site.
According to the report of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA); 1/10 th construction workers get injured every year.
According to the report of Bureau of Labor Statics (BLS); 150,000 construction workers got injured in the year 2019/2020.
Due to the growing casualties; it is important to monitor construction safety from the design phase to the construction phase.
Causes of Construction Accidents
Some causes of construction accidents are:
a. Scaffolding and ladders
Most of the accident occurs due to falling from certain heights. Workers fall from scaffolding or ladders while working for large scale projects at certain heights.
Mostly accidents and injuries (like fractures of bones, spines, head, etc.) are caused due to loose and incorrect placement of ladders and unguarded scaffolding in walkways.
b. Insecure Objects(Equipment)
Various sharp and solid objects used at elevation during construction may fall and these falling objects can cause injuries like cuts, head bruises, and even death.
To reduce such falling of objects, the workspace should be clean and well organized with safety measures.
c. The deficient immediate health facility
At the construction site, there should be the provision of first aid and various health facilities for immediate treatment of injuries. Lack of immediate facilities can lead to the worst circumstances of accidents.
Some workers may have health issues like respiratory problems, phobia from heights, photophobia, etc. Inadequate supervision of such workers by project manager can lead to accidents.
d. Faults in Equipment
Before starting to work, equipment should be well checked and repaired either it is working properly or not. The durability of the equipment should be recognized properly. If it is not working smoothly, it should be checked out by technicians for repair. Thus, faulty equipment is one of the causes of accidents.
e. Deficient of proper training
There are many hazardous types of equipment used in the construction site. Workers should be well trained or guided to use equipment securely by applying safety measures.
Lack of knowledge and expert advice to use heavy equipment is also the main cause of construction accidents.
f. Heavy Equipment
With the advancement of technology for efficient and fast operation of work, small equipment can be replaced by single equipment of multi-functioning capacity. And single equipment may be heavy in size and weight. To use such heavy equipment; proper guidance and skilled manpower are required.
Heavy equipment like cranes, dodgers, rollers, trucks, etc. at the site needs adequate communication between drivers, safety staffs, teams, workers, pedestrians around, etc. during operation. Operation of heavy equipment is difficult in its own. Thus, it is also considered as the cause of construction accidents like struck, crash, etc.
g. Improper Way of Sequencing
Some workplace has risks of on-site erosion and sedimentation problems and thus causes difficulties in executing the project work in time as scheduled and installation problems may arise in site to operate various construction works that have been sequenced in project analysis of equipment and materials. Thus, this creates psychological pressure and may result in different accidents.
h. Inaccurate construction planning and scheduling
For proper time management of project duration and resources required for the construction, it is scheduled with the proper plan of cost estimation, recognition of hazards possibilities and complications.
Inadequate planning and scheduling can cause improper management of workers, equipment and resources. This can cause various accidents in construction sites.
i. Noise Hazards
Heavy machinery and equipment used at site produce vibration and loud noise. And loud non-audible sound can cause deafness & numbness to the workers and vibration causes various internal injuries of limbs and nerves. Thus, the loud non-audible sound is considered as noise and is hazardous to human health. This is also the cause of accidents in the construction site.
j. Hazardous Construction Site
Some sites may have various deficiencies like natural disaster-prone areas, unsuitable land and climate for construction, etc. Thus, the workplace should be chosen very wisely before planning and scheduling for construction.
Experts and civil engineers should permit to start works at the site. Improper selection of construction site causes failure, demolition of structures during construction and workers may have to be injured and died. Thus, the hazardous workplace is also a cause of construction accidents.
Preventive Measures of Construction Accidents
Some of the preventive measures of construction accidents are:
a. Hazards can be recognized at the site if there are adequate planning and scheduling. After recognition, workers should have their protective equipment like a helmet, jacket, hard duty gloves, etc. to prevent accidents up to some extent.
b. Maintaining distance from heavy noise-producing machinery.
c. Provision of adequate lighting at darker construction sites.
d. Removal of projected nails.
e. Checking and repairing equipment before executing the work.
f. Provision of personal protective equipment like eyeglasses, hard helmet, ear defenders, heavy-duty gloves, mask, slip-resistant boots, reflective cloth, etc.
g. Provision of proper balanced diet and rest intervals. Fatigue and health issues can cause accidents.
h. Providing catch net on unprotected site.
I. For excavation works, workers should have proper training and knowledge about underground structures with the use of defensive appliances.
j. Encouraging construction workers for becoming part of the safety program.
k. Placement of warning signboards at risky areas.
Common Fatal Construction Accidents Types
There are many construction accidents reported by OSHA statistics occurred at the site. Some construction accidents are explained below:
Construction operated at certain elevation may result in fall of workers due to inaccurate performance of scaffoldings and ladders and improper personal safety equipment.
b. Struck by heavy equipment or objects that may fall from certain heights over pedestrians workers.
During construction, equipment needs electricity to operate works( like wiring, welding). While working, workers can get electric shocks and electric firing may also occur. These electrical prone accidents come under electrocution.
d. Accidents occurred by hazard use of equipment without following safety measures.
And other different types of construction accidents:
a. Demolition of structures like ceiling, floors, walls, etc.
b. Cranes, Dodgers, rollers accidents.
c. Failure of heavy equipment leads to various bruises.
d. Accidents during welding rods.
e. Unguarded rebar may fall causing construction accident.
f. The collapse of whole structures due to unmatched frequencies of vibration and structures.
g. Excavation accidents.
h. Various harmful substances released during work execution on-site like toxic mould, hot concrete, etc.
i. Unmanaged rotating shafts and sharp cutting tools can cause great injury.
j. Untightened or improper elevators facility on sites.
Safety Measures After Accidents
We cannot prevent some unpredictable accidents. But there are some safety measures to be applied to treat the bruises victims after accidents. They are:
a. There should be a warning alarm to alert other workers to help and notify for upcoming hazards using a siren.
b. The fire extinguisher should be there for preventing firing accidents.
c. There should be hired medical teams at the construction site, all the time.
d. Easy and quick access to the vehicle to go to the hospital.
e. Immediate first aid facility and various health facilities should be given to injured.
f. Immediate report of accidents should be submitted to higher authorities.
g. There should be the facility of an attorney to compensate and manage all expenses of bruised workers treatment for every minor and major accident on the sites.
Attorney in Construction Accidents
Many companies work together in some projects with a sufficient number of construction workers on site. Due to unmanaged planning and scheduling, improper facilities for workers and defective machinery; various accidents may occur. And worker can sue a file of a construction accident claim. This third-party claim allows injured victims and their family members to issue an attorney to manage medical expenses and earnings or income of the family.
Accidents may occur to anyone on sites. Depending upon the condition of the accident; victims can appeal for aid through attorney legal rights before signing for projects with some criteria.
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