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Most construction accidents can be prevented

Pittsburgh construction workers have one of the most dangerous jobs in America. While construction workers make up only 6 percent of the U.S. workforce, they account for over 20 percent of all worker deaths in the private sector. In 2016, nearly 1,000 construction workers lost their lives in job-related accidents, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Workplace safety advocates say that more than 60 percent of construction accidents are preventable. For example, falls are one of the most common causes of worker injuries and deaths in the construction industry. However, they can be easily prevented by following basic industry safety standards, including the consistent use of fall protection equipment, properly sized ladders and stable work surfaces. Another common cause of injuries and deaths is workers being struck by objects, including work vehicles. These accidents can be prevented by creating clear vehicle routes on worksites and training workers on the proper use of equipment.

Many workers are also harmed by electrical hazards each year. These types of accidents can be reduced by locating and identifying power sources before beginning any project. Workers should also be provided with grounded tools and ground-fault circuit interrupters. Trench collapses and other caught-in-between accidents also claim many lives on construction sites. These types of incidents can be prevented by ensuring that all trenches deeper than five feet have trench wall support and other safety measures in place. Finally, injuries and illnesses from hazardous chemicals can be prevented by providing workers with proper personal protection equipment and making sure everyone understands how to safely handle hazardous materials.

Construction workers who suffer on-the-job injuries are eligible to file for workers' compensation benefits. An attorney might explain all benefits available and help prepare the claim.

Source: Arbill, "Five Top Safety Hazards On A Construction Site," Julie Copeland, Sept. 7, 2018

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