Big cities, such as Baton Rouge, Louisiana, depend heavily on successful construction work. They help keep the city’s economy going and promote dynamic growth. However, these processes must come at a cost other than worker health and safety.
An increased risk of injuries and accidents can characterize any line of work. However, compared to others, the construction industry has a higher rate of injuries and accidents, as evidenced by simple statistics. The hazardous nature of work on construction sites characterizes the construction industry. It makes workers more vulnerable to injuries that can affect the rest of their lives. However, there are safety rules that, if followed, can significantly reduce the risk of workplace injuries and deaths.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that 5,190 fatal work injuries were recorded in the U.S. in 2021, an 8.9-percent increase from 4,764 in 2020. One worker died every 101 minutes from a work-related injury in 2021. Work-related fatalities due to falls, slips, and trips increased by 5.6 percent in 2021, from 805 deaths in 2020 to 850 in 2021. Slips, falls, and trips in construction and extraction fields accounted for 370 of these fatalities in 2021, an increase of 7.2 percent from 2020 when there were 345 fatalities. Construction and extraction works had the second most occupational fatalities (951) in 2021, despite experiencing a 2.6-percent reduction in fatalities from 2020.
A construction site is a high-risk area. However, companies and investors may be more interested in a project’s financial side than workers’ health and lives. Unfortunately, profits may matter more than severe or even fatal injuries.
Causes of construction injuries
Construction site injuries are usually the result of noncompliance with safety procedures or an irresponsible attitude toward one’s duties. It can also be the outcome of the following:
- lack of or inadequate maintenance of the technical equipment used in the job, resulting in the operation of defective machinery;
- unsatisfactory maintenance and shortcomings in the organization of workplaces;
- unsatisfactory technical condition of buildings, constructions, and territories;
- shortcomings in the training of safe work practices;
- violation of labor and production discipline;
- falling from a height;
- failure to use protective equipment;
- Use of a worker not following his specialty, etc.
Types of construction injury
Above are the most common causes that can provoke construction injuries. But what kind of injuries are these?
Workers can suffer injuries of varying severity. They can be:
- Vision impairment or blindness
- Knee and ankle injury
- Injury to the neck, shoulder, or back
- Broken bones
- Trauma to the spinal cord
- Brain and head trauma
- Illnesses caused by toxic chemical exposure
In addition, there may be tragic incidents, such as the death of a worker. Such injuries can result in partial or complete loss of ability to work.
Stairs and Ladders
Oddly enough, one of the most common causes of construction injuries is stairs and ladders.
It is dangerous to work near or on stairways and ladders. For instance, stairways and ladders are significant causes of accidents and fatalities among construction workers. Many of the injuries are severe enough to necessitate time away from work. The OSHA safety and health regulations apply to all stairs and ladders used during the construction, alteration, painting, repair, destruction, and decorating worksites.
Employers must install all ladder and stepladder fall protection systems required by these regulations and ensure their workplace meets all constraints before employees use it.
Based on the requirements established by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 1910.23, we can formulate the general guidelines for all ladders which, if not followed, may result in serious injury:
- Ladders should be kept free of oil, grease, and other hazardous substances that can cause slipping;
- Do not overload the ladders beyond their standard load capacity;
- Ladders should be used only for their intended purpose and only on stable and level surfaces unless secured;
- It would be in your interest if you did not use the ladders on slippery surfaces unless they have anti-slip feet to prevent accidental movement or are secured,
- Ladders should always be secured where you can displace them by work activities or traffic;
- Areas around the edges of the ladder should be kept clear;
- Ladders should not be moved or repositioned while in use;
- It would be best if you face the ladder when walking on it;
- Hold on to the ladder with at least one hand when climbing;
- Keep appropriately sized objects on the ladder to maintain balance and prevent falls.
In addition, there are also technical requirements for ladder equipment:
- The ladder’s rungs, fasteners, and steps shall be parallel, level, and evenly spaced when the ladder is in its position for use.
- Rungs, latches, and steps of portable and stationary ladders shall be at least 10 inches apart and more than 14 inches along the ladder’s side railings.
- Rungs, rungs, and steps of stepladders shall be at least 8 inches apart and more than 12 inches between the center lines of rungs, rungs, and steps.
- The rungs and steps in the base of retractable trestles must be no less than 8 inches apart and no more than 18 inches between the center lines of the rungs and steps.
- Ladders may only be spliced or stapled together to create longer sections if they are specifically designed and intended for such use.
- When side railings are combined, the resulting side rung must be equivalent in strength to a solid side rung of the same material.
- Ladder elements must be coated to prevent entrapment of clothing and injury from punctures or cuts.
Regulations concerning stairs and their components generally depend on how and when you will use them. In particular, there are rules for stairs used during construction and stairs used temporarily during construction, as well as regulations governing stair railings and handrails.
As per OSHA 1910.25 (b)(7), standard stairs provide access from one walkable work surface to another when operations require regular and routine movement between levels, including access to work platforms for equipment.
The essential requirement to be applied to stairs is subject to OSHA 1910.25(b)(2). Stairs used during construction that are not a permanent part of the building must have platforms at least 30 inches deep and at least 22 inches wide every 12 feet or less of vertical rise.
Under OSHA 1910.28(b)(1)(i), the employer must ensure that he protects each employee from falling by at least one of the following:
- Install guardrail systems and safety systems; or
- Install personal fall protection systems, such as individual fall stops, track restraints, or positioning systems.
Compensation for Injuries at Work
Workers injured in an industrial or construction accident in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, are entitled to compensation.
Our OSHA attorneys work in your best interest to ensure that you receive all the appropriate workers’ compensation benefits in the case of hurt at work:
- medical treatment,
- disability benefits,
- vocational rehabilitation.
It is the employer’s responsibility to provide such benefits. They are paid directly to the employee by the employer or insurer. Employers are responsible for the medical care and help of their employee who had construction injury or was harmed at work due to an industrial accident.
The law covers both physical and mental injuries from accidents or occupational diseases. However, a mental injury must result from a physical injury or sudden, unexpected, and extraordinary work-related stress. In either case, you should prove it with clear and convincing evidence.
You should contact a Baton Rouge Construction Accident Lawyer to obtain fair compensation after an injury. It is necessary if you believe your employer needs to do more to compensate you adequately or even if he prevents you from doing so.
We know the laws that govern construction injury compensation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and will fight to help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (225) 963-9638.