Preventing the Fatal Four Construction Accidents in Florida
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Fatal Four cause most fatal construction accidents in Florida. These construction site accidents are also rather easy to prevent. Unfortunately, to many bosses, worker safety is an unnecessary cost. That’s especially true in places like Tampa Bay, where the construction industry is so competitive.
When employers don’t take the proper steps to protect workers, which includes providing safety equipment, explaining its use in a language the workers understand, and stressing its use, a Tampa workers’ compensation lawyer obtains the benefits injured workers need to get back on the job. These benefits usually include lost wage replacement and payment of all reasonably necessary medical expenses.
A fall from as little as four stories above ground level is normally fatal. Many skyscrapers in downtown Tampa and other such areas are ten times that high.
If workers wore and used safety harnesses, the number of fatal falls would plummet dramatically. But safety harnesses decrease mobility. So, it might take Joe seven minutes to complete a task instead of five minutes. That amount of time seems inconsequential. But these nickels and dimes quickly add up to quarters and dollars. That’s money most bosses are unwilling to spend.
The same basic principle applies to other common fall prevention techniques in Florida, such as:
- Securing scaffolds and ladders before using them,
- Covering, labeling, and offsetting floor openings or other gaps, and
- Installing and maintaining sufficient perimeter protection.
A slip-and-fall injury could be as deadly as a fall from a height, especially if the victim has a pre-existing condition. Slip-and-fall accidents are especially common among construction office workers.
Sometimes, electrocution injuries cause fall injuries. The arc blast throws victims through the air. Other times, electrocution is a standalone fatal injury. A sudden electrical surge usually triggers an involuntary muscle contraction (the no-let-go response), extending the period of time a victim has contact with energy that’s hotter than the sun’s surface temperature.
Overhead power lines, which crisscross many construction sites, might be the worst electrocution hazard. Before work begins, all overhead power lines must be marked and offset. Workers must also be trained to look for overhead lines and maintain a safe distance from them.
Tools cause many electrocutions, especially if the worker wasn’t properly trained. Here are a few safety tips. Only operate grounded or double-insulated portable electric tools, use ground-fault circuit interrupters for protection, and be watchful for electrocution hazards while climbing ladders or scaffolds.
These injuries usually involve dangerous construction trenches. No matter what the boss says, Never enter an unprotected trench or excavation five feet or deeper without an adequate protective system in place; some trenches under 5 feet deep may also need such a system.
Furthermore, make sure the trench or excavation is protected either by sloping, shoring, benching or trench shield systems.
Some workers are struck by falling objects, like dropped hand tools. Others are struck by large construction vehicles.
If Mary drops a hammer on her foot, her injury will be non-serious. If Mary drops a hammer from three stories up and the hammer hits Jack, his injuries could be fatal. Dump trucks and other large construction vehicles usually have very poor sight lines, increasing the risk of a pedestrian collision, especially at a busy construction site.
Rely on a Hard-Working Hillsborough County Attorney
Injury victims are entitled to important financial benefits. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Tampa, contact Kobal Law. Virtual, after-hours, home, and hospital visits are available.