Construction workers face risks every day on the job. In North Carolina, our state's metropolitan areas Raleigh and Charlotte are fast-growing. New jobs and new residents mean a higher demand for housing, office space, and retail space. The construction projects across the state require general contractors, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, welders, and other skilled workers that use specialized equipment in hazardous work environments. Inadequate safety training, improper gear, or negligent safety protocols may cause accidents, but what contributes most to construction accidents?
According to the North Carolina Department of Labor's 2011 report, the most common safety violations found in the construction industry involve fall protection, general safety and health, and ladders. This is not to say that a worker has less risk of one type of accident than another, but that the majority of construction projects have similarities that may likely contribute to worker injuries.
- Fall protection. OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) standards mandate that fall protection must be provided for any projects 6' or higher in the construction industry (and various elevations in other sectors). The recent pedestrian bridge collapse on Wake Tech's campus was allegedly 40' above the ground - but investigations for who or what was at fault in the accident are pending.
- Safety and health violations. Accident prevention methods must be in place and explained to employees. Employers are required to keep floors in work areas clean, maintain regular employee training on safety, and take precautions for reducing worker exposure to health hazards.
- Ladders. According to the North Carolina Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Division, "ladders must extend 3 feet above landing or be properly secured to access upper landing."
Understanding work risks can help workers prevent accidents, report violations, and maintain a safer work environment. Even with proper safety procedures, accidents happen. When they do our workers' compensation attorneys help employees understand their rights and benefit entitlements. Our attorneys work out of offices in Raleigh, Cary, Fayetteville, Dunn & Clinton, but we can meet with injured workers wherever necessary. If they are recovering in their home or a hospital, we can be there.