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Most Common Causes of Accidents on Construction Sites
27 August 2019
Construction sites can be a dangerous work environment if health and safety isn’t followed properly. True Solicitors LLP investigate the most common causes of accidents on construction sites and what action can be taken to avoid them.
Slips, trips and falls
Loose cables, building equipment and holes in the ground can be commonplace in construction sites making it more likely for employees to experience a slip, trip or fall in the workplace.
Employers and employees can do their best to mitigate the risk of slips, trips and falls in the workplace by:
• Keeping walkways clear of obstructions.
• Being aware of their surroundings and reporting any hazards to management.
• Keep sites clear and free of debris.
Falls from height
Faulty scaffolding, unsecured ladders, lack of safety railings and PPE can increase the likelihood of a fall from height. Falls from height can result in more severe damages such as spinal, head and brain injuries and can even prove to be fatal.
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 states that employers must ensure that the following requirements are met to ensure the safety of their staff whilst working at height:
- Provide employees with appropriate training.
• Provide employees with the right personal protection equipment (PPE).
• Conduct a risk assessment.
• Ensure all equipment is in good working order.
• Ensure that surfaces are dry, sturdy and fee from obstacles.
When working on a construction site you would expect that tools and equipment would be in safe and good working order. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case and accidents can happen as a result of employees being given faulty or defective equipment to work with.
In order to avoid employees incurring injuries as a result of using defective products employers should:
- Regularly maintain and inspect tools and machinery.
- Provide appropriate PPE.
- Conduct a full health and safety assessment on tools and equipment.
Construction sites contain a lot of electrical equipment which if used incorrectly, or is faulty, can result in electric shock injury. Electric shocks can lead to injuries including burns, scarring, long term nerve damage and even death.
Employers can mitigate the risk of their staff members experiencing an electrical shock injury by:
- Only asking qualified staff members to carry out electrical work.
- Carrying out regular maintenance and safety checks on electrical tools and machinery.
Provide employees with the right safety gear and electrical testing equipment.
Manual handling injuries can happen as a result of employees transporting heavy loads, by lifting, pushing, pulling and carrying. When employees try to move objects that are too heavy, or don’t use the correct techniques that they have been taught in training, injuries can occur.
The Manual handling Operations Regulations (1992) sets out the rules that employers must adhere to, in order to protect the well being of their staff if their job involves manual handling. Your employer should do the following before allowing you to carry out any manual handling:
- Carry out a risk assessment.
• Implement any measures that can aid in the heavy lifting such as using pallet trucks, hoists or conveyors.
• Conduct health and safety training to show employees the safe way to conduct the task.
If your employer has failed to meet these responsibilities and that led to you suffering an injury at work, you will be entitled to compensation for those injuries and any financial losses, such as lost earnings.
Excessive noise and vibrating power tool hazards
Construction sites are extremely noisy environments, workers should always wear ear defenders to protect their hearing from long term damage. Hearing loss and tinnitus can develop in construction workers who have been exposed to prolonged periods of extreme noise.
Using vibrating power tools on a daily basis, for prolonged periods of time can lead to issues such as Vibration White Finger (VWF) or Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). Symptoms of HAVS include loss of feeling or sensation or pins and needles in the fingers, with blanching (whiteness or blueish colour) and occur as a result of injury to the blood vessels of the finger. The blood flow to the fingers is reduced as a result of the damage to these vessels. The damage caused to the nerves and tendons of the hands, arms and wrists can be very painful, and can even result in loss of grip and manual dexterity.
Employers have a legal duty to protect their staff in the workplace and should implement measures to limit the risk of hearing loss and HAVS through:
- Providing employees with the appropriate PPE such as ear defenders.
- Limiting their employees’ exposure to excessive noise.
- Limiting the time employees’ spend working with vibrating hand tools.
According to the HSE, on average, around 7 workers die and a further 93 are seriously injured, each year as a result of accidents involving vehicles on construction sites. The risk of accidents can be minimized through effective traffic management on site, including:
• Keeping vehicles and pedestrians apart – through providing designated walkways, crossings, barriers, entrances and exits for pedestrians and vehicles.
• Hiring the right people – making sure that only fully competent and trained workers are operating vehicles on site.
• Prevent vehicles from reversing – Reversing vehicles on construction sites can cause fatal accidents. If possible construction sites should be fitted with a turning circle so that vehicles can turn without having to reverse.
• Increase visibility – Ensure that pedestrians on site wear high-vis clothing and that construction sites are well lit, so that drivers and pedestrians can easily see each other.
• Signs and instructions – Make sure areas of construction sites where vehicles will be travelling in and out are well sign posted, so that pedestrians are well aware. Ensure that anyone entering the site is provided with an induction or sent instructions prior to their visit.
If you’ve experienced an accident on a construction site, within the last 3 years, caused through the negligent actions of someone else you could be entitled to make a claim. True Solicitors LLP will handle your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis. Our expert accident at work lawyers are experienced in gaining financial compensation along with rehabilitation, care and support for our clients.
Contact us today for a free initial consultation about your claim. Call us on 0344 854 7000. Or fill in our online enquiry form and we’ll get back to you at a time suitable for you.