Did you know the building code process in America is less restrictive for residential development? Homebuilders have more flexibility than their commercial development peers; however, the risks to health and safety remain a focal point.
Fatalities in construction remain high, and while equipment is improving and deemed safer, human error causes deaths on the job.
Deaths – Construction
OSHA links to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries report, which it states that in 2019 there was a five percent increase in fatalities on private construction projects. With so much flexibility on residential homes is built, the risks of serious injury are high during construction.
Hiring the right contractor for your home build is the key to a successful construction project. Work with a contractor with experience, the right licenses, health and safety record, and adequate insurance coverage.
The latter is more important than you think. When you work with an uninsured construction contractor, you expose yourself and your construction project to many unnecessary risks, putting you in severe financial jeopardy. What are the risks you face when hiring an uninsured contractor?
A homeowner or project owner may be liable if workers – including contractors – get injured during property development. You’ll want to avoid the costly expense of injury liability which can seriously break your bank.
Unfortunately, the responsibility falls to you when the contractor fails to provide insurance for workers, including any subcontractor involved in the project. Since subcontractors are usually cheaper, they cannot afford to provide their insurance coverage.
On top of that, on-site injuries are quite common. Countless injury types and even more kinds of accidents can happen on the project site. This is the first reason you should always double-check the construction contractor’s insurance.
So what are some of the most common construction site injuries?
Most Common Construction Injuries
There are a few common injuries in building construction, including:
- Struck by objects
- Heat stress
- Chemical exposure
- Musculoskeletal injuries
Even on residential construction sites, where the heights are much lower than commercial construction sites, falls are the major cause of fatalities or injuries.
A fall results from any or a combination of a multitude of causes, including:
- incorrect or faulty scaffolding
- lack of and incorrect use of safety railings and PPE gear
- construction debris and obstacles
- tiredness or fatigue, which in itself can result from many causes, including lack of breaks, lack of sleep, intoxication, and so on
Electrical hazards are a significant danger on construction sites. Incorrect installation and electrical equipment use is a major contributing factors to high injuries on construction sites. Workers may come into contact with live electrical wires or equipment, resulting in serious or fatal injuries.
Construction workers often perform physically demanding tasks, such as lifting and carrying heavy objects, leading to musculoskeletal injuries such as strains, sprains, and back injuries.
Construction workers may be exposed to harmful chemicals, such as asbestos, lead, and silica dust. Prolonged exposure to these substances can lead to serious health problems, including respiratory diseases and cancer.
Struck by objects
Construction sites are busy, and workers move heavy equipment and materials around. Workers can be struck by falling objects, such as tools, building materials, or even vehicles, which can cause serious injuries.
Working on construction sites can be physically demanding, and workers may be exposed to extreme temperatures. Heat stress can occur when workers work in hot and humid conditions, leading to dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
Poor use of vehicles during construction has resulted in deaths and serious injuries. The driver is at risk, along with passengers and site workers.
Handling and moving building materials is another area fraught with safety risks. Being struck by or crushed under objects usually happens quickly and without notice. Maybe the load was too heavy or not properly secured, or the handler had a lapse in concentration.
Health And Safety On Site
Avoiding construction accidents is the best cure. Never avoid investing in and using the best safety equipment on the market, including worker PPE, i.e., face masks, earplugs, gloves, face shields, etc.
Home Owners’ Action
Ignorance will not relieve you of your responsibilities and liabilities with home-building projects. Ensure you understand the legalities of home building and that your lawyer has approved of any contract you need to sign so your rights are protected.
Ideally, during the construction, you have given the site over to the construction team, and it is up to their management to look after and protect all site staff and provide a secure site for neighbors and pedestrians.
Here is another article on common types of construction claims.