All construction site owners and contractors are obligated to ensure conditions on the site are safe, and to take reasonable precautions against likely sources of harm. However, not everyone does what they are supposed to, and the result of their negligence is that construction workers are more likely to get hurt. Here are five ways in which negligence by construction site owners or contractors can result in accidents:
- Failure to provide protective gear
- Hard hats are practically synonymous with the construction industry and are among the many pieces of protective equipment that are supposed to be provided to workers to protect them against injury. When construction workers do not get the hard hats, insulated gloves, goggles, or other protective gear they need to perform their job safely, it makes it more likely that they will be injured on the job. Unfortunately, some contractors will fail to provide protective gear, or even if they have gear, they may fail to enforce a policy requiring protective gear to be worn. This places workers at an unnecessary risk of injury and increases the risk of being injured by falling objects, getting electrocuted, or being exposed to toxic gases or chemicals.
- Lack of warning signs
- It is not always possible to safeguard against every hazard on a construction site, especially when engaged in dangerous activities like excavation, trenching, or demolition. Where these hazards exist but cannot be entirely protected against, warning signs are supposed to be posted to ensure people are aware of potential dangers, such as flammable or caustic materials, unstable areas, or exposed electrical wires. When warning signs are not properly posted, it increases the risk that workers will be burned or scalded by flammable or caustic materials, or that they will be caught under a cave-in, or that they will suffer countless other potential injuries.
- Circumventing tagout/lockout systems
- Construction often involves working with energized equipment that has a strong electrical current running through it. This equipment is supposed to be secured with a tagout or lockout system which makes it less likely that someone will come into physical contact with the system while electricity is running through it. However, some people will circumvent these safety systems because they slow down work, which can save time but also increases the likelihood of electrocution.
- Failing to use guarding on tools
- Power tools are used regularly on construction sites, including drills, saws, rivet guns, nail guns, and jackhammers, just to name a few. These tools are made to cut through steel and stone, but they cut through flesh and bone with equal ease when someone accidentally puts a limb close to one of these tools. Most such tools have special guarding intended to prevent such injuries, but some people will either fail to engage the guarding or intentionally circumvent it to save on time or effort. Suffice it to say that failing to use guarding on tools makes it substantially more likely that a worker will suffer a severe injury when using them, including potential dismemberment.
- Inadequate inspections
- There is hardly a part of a construction site that does not need to be inspected and certified before people can use it or go near it. These inspections are often tedious, time-consuming, and expensive, but also ensure equipment is safe to use and areas on the construction site are safe to work on. It can be easy to simply forget to do timely inspections, or to simply work without going through the trouble of conducting inspections. However, this makes it more likely that equipment will be defective, and increases the likelihood that on-site hazards like exposed wiring, noxious fumes, or cave-in zones will not be identified until someone has already gotten hurt.
The personal injury attorneys at Georgaklis & Mallas, PLLC are experienced in representing clients who have been seriously injured, and the surviving family members of those who have been fatally injured, as the result of construction accidents. The firm’s accomplished personal injury lawyers strive to secure full and fair compensation for their injured clients. With law offices conveniently located in Brooklyn and Manhattan, their personal injury lawyers can vigorously represent clients throughout the metropolitan area, including, in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, the Bronx, Queens, and New Jersey. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, please call (718) 238-2400 or fill out our contact form.