Construction site safety: Limiting the danger for Tennessee workers

Due to a range of workplace hazards, construction workers commonly suffer occupational injuries, but there are things they can do to improve their safety.

People working in just about every field and occupation throughout Tennessee, and elsewhere, face some risk of injury in the workplace. However, the danger may be greater for some, such as construction workers. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the fatal injury rate for construction and extraction occupations in 2014 was 11.8 for every 100,000 full time workers. Although some construction accidents are unavoidable, there are things those working in this field can do to improve their safety.

Much of the injury risk for construction workers is due to the range of hazards they face in the workplace. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, some of the most common dangers on construction sites include trench and scaffold collapses, electric shocks and falls from heights. Failing to use proper protective equipment may also result in work-related injuries for construction workers. Repetitive motion injuries are also common among workers in the construction industry from performing certain duties, or using certain equipment or tools.

Maintain safety barriers

Often times, there are open trenches, drop offs and other such hazards on construction sites. In order avoid falls, and other workplace accidents, it is important for workers to maintain safety barriers. This may include trench covers, hole covers and fencing. While it is generally up to those managing such sites to provide these safety tools, it is up to the workers to vigilantly and properly use them. It is also advisable to mark off dangerous areas using tape, paint or blockades.

Take precautions around equipment

There is typically machinery and a range of tools in use on construction sites. If this equipment is not utilized appropriately and safely, or is defective or in disrepair, it could easily result in workers being injured on the job. Furthermore, people could be struck by, or get caught in, machinery or equipment if they are distracted or careless while working on construction sites.

Workers may help avoid workplace accidents by always using caution when operating equipment or tools. They should also be careful and pay attention to their surroundings when working with, and around, the tools and equipment on construction sites. Additionally, it is also a good idea for workers to regularly check their equipment for wear and tear. This may help ensure their tools are in good working condition.

Use protective apparel and personal protective equipment

Wearing hard hats, gloves, eye protection and other personal protective equipment can be vital to keeping construction workers safe on the job. Those who work on construction sites should also use earplugs and masks when their work environment calls for it. If their employers do not provide this type of equipment, workers may consider purchasing these items on their own.

In addition, Occupational Health and Safety magazine recommends that construction workers wear highly visible clothing. This may help them to be seen by other workers, which could prevent some construction accidents. Workers' clothing should also be climate protective, and be appropriate for the weather conditions.

Seeking legal guidance

When construction workers in Nashville, and throughout Tennessee, are injured on the job, they are often entitled to workers' compensation. For some, however, the process of obtaining these benefits may be complicated, or a third party may also be held liable for their resulting damages. As such, those who have suffered construction site injuries may benefit from consulting with an attorney. A legal representative may explain their options for pursuing financial compensation.