According to the Occupational Safety and Health Organization Administration (OSHA), there are nearly seven million construction workers operating across the country. Every laborer is exposed to a wide variety of hazards each day, from toxic fumes to dangerous machinery. But there is no greater risk in a construction zone than slipping, falling or tripping from any height. In 2013, of the 794 construction workers who died while on the job, 294 of them were the result of trips and falls. That is nearly 40 percent – a staggering number if there ever was one. Additionally, if there is rain, sleet, snow, heavy winds or lightening involved, the odds of a serious accident are compounded.
While all construction zones are prohibited from operating in severe or dangerous weather, this does not stop Mother Nature from sneaking up on the unwary worker. If a storm or snow squall suddenly kicks up, laborers can quickly find themselves in precarious if not deadly circumstances. If and when that happens it is important to keep a few things in mind while working above the ground floor:
1) Concrete, metal and other such surfaces can become incredibly slick in even the slightest drizzle. It is important to have the proper steel-toed footwear that not only protects your feet from heavy objects, but will help you maintain a grip in slippery conditions. The same goes for your hands; having the proper gloves can make the difference when holding onto a secured wall or slick railing.
2) Cold weather does more than numb your skin; it can numb your senses and awareness as well. The longer you stay out in the cold, the more likely your decision making will be delayed or distracted. At any significant height, one slip up or miscalculation can mean your life.
3) Some folks tend to forget that heavy construction machinery, whether it is a back-hoe, an earth-mover or a dump truck, stands at a decent height. Most large, 4-wheeled, vehicles can stand well over 15 feet high. Should the steps or truck bed become wet or icy, a fall from such a height could do just as much damage – if not more – as it could from a building. When working on top of or in construction vehicles, be sure you are wearing the right gear for the job.
If you fell on a job site and were injured in any way that maybe the result of inclement weather, your employer could be held liable. Not only are sites prohibited from operating in dangerous conditions, but are tasked with providing safety gear as well as secure working conditions. Call Kahn Roven today if you have questions concerning your construction zone accident.