A worker suffered a construction injury in Palm Beach Gardens recently, after a steel beam reportedly fell on him.
According to news reports, the employee, in his 30s, was hospitalized after the incident; the extent of his injuries are not yet known.
While all work accidents have the potential to be serious, those in the construction industry are especially dangerous because of the heavy equipment so frequently used on these jobs. Struck-by accidents like this one are one of the top concerns noted by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration for those employed in construction and related fields.
In fact, OSHA notes that struck-by hazards are one of the top causes of construction accident deaths.
Most incidents can be attributed to impact with either heavy equipment and vehicles, such as cranes and trucks, or falling objects, like flying particles or tools. Concrete or masonry walls are also a problem, as they may be unstable during the course of construction.
The good news is almost all of these incidents are preventable. Employers have a responsibility to foresee the potential risks on each job site and to take action to reduce hazards wherever possible.
Just some basic examples might include:
- Making sure workers steer clear of the swing radius of the crane load;
- Making sure reinforced bars are capped if there is any chance a person could fall onto them or walk into them;
- Ensuring tools, like hammers, are in good working order so that heavy metal parts don’t fly off and strike someone.
Vehicle struck-by incidents account for about 75 percent of the total. Curbing these instances must be a top priority for construction firms. Worker vehicles need to be equipped with proper seat belts. Also, each work vehicle should be thoroughly inspected at the start of each work day. When the vehicle isn’t in use, make sure workers know to use the parking brake. If the vehicle is parked at an incline and isn’t in use, make sure to chock the wheels. Struck-by risks can also be reduced by making sure a vehicle isn’t overloaded.
Large work vehicles that limit a driver’s ability to see behind should have alarms to alert anyone nearby. There should also be another worker tapped to signal to the driver that backing up is safe.
There is also a great deal companies can do to prevent injury or death resulting from flying or falling objects.
First, all hoists, cranes and tools need to be routinely inspected to make sure they are in good working condition. Use of faulty tools can result in unexpected and sometimes dangerous outcomes.
Workers also need to be well-trained in how to handle all of the available tools, and they need to be provided with the proper protective gear. Wearing the right gear can keep workers safe even when they are struck by falling or flying objects.
Designated work areas need to be clear from unnecessary clutter and tools and other objects need to be properly secured in their rightful place.
If you have been injured in a Palm Beach construction accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at 888-751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation.
Man in hospital after construction accident in suburban Palm Beach Gardens, Dec. 19, 2013, By Alexandra Seltzer, Palm Beach Post
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