If you are a member of the construction workforce of Pennsylvania, you will likely be very aware of the life-threatening hazards you have to face every day. This is just as well, because recognizing the dangers may help you to avoid situations that may lead to severe workplace injuries. Although workers in any industry could be injured, construction sites pose significantly more hazards than retail stores or office buildings.
Safety authorities say that falls are the primary causes of fatal construction accidents, and for that reason, it is not surprising that extensive safety regulations exist for fall prevention and protection. Your jobs on site may frequently put you on scaffolding structures, which pose a host of hazards.
Precautions to keep you safe on the scaffold
Even though your employer is responsible for your safety and health, he or she may disregard the necessary precautions. This may happen if the desire to maximize profits overshadows the need to pay attention to the safety of employees on scaffolding structures. The following safety aspects may require you to take your own precautions:
- Attend every training session: You can never attend too many safety training sessions; in fact, daily reminders of safety regulations can only be beneficial. Furthermore, learning about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's rules for the erection and dismantling of a scaffolding structure can prevent collapses.
- Assess the work site: Before starting work that involves scaffolding, it may be wise to walk around and assess the site. You can then identify hazards, or potential risks, and report them to the supervisor. Being proactive can save your life.
- Think ahead: If the scaffold structure will need relocation during the project, make sure that your employer has a plan in place for its safe dismantling and re-erection. Also, look for hazards such as overhead power lines that may pose electrocution risks.
- Insist on personal protective equipment: Your employer must provide fall protection to all workers at heights. Check the equipment for wear and tear, and make sure it is in proper working order before climbing onto the scaffold.
- Organize your workspace: Keep in mind that randomly placed tools on the scaffold can cause trip-and-fall accidents. Also, avoid the risk of dropping tools or other objects onto workers at lower levels by organizing your workspace on the scaffold.
- Work with licensed scaffold erectors: Make sure the scaffold contractors are licensed and work with proper materials. They must understand the required load capacity and fix guardrails for extra protection against falls.
Know your rights
Your employer may rush you to get the project done sooner without realizing that it could lead to severe accidents that will ultimately be detrimental to the bottom line. So, never compromise your safety by rushing. The Pennsylvania workers' compensation insurance system allows injured workers to pursue financial assistance. You may find comfort in knowing that help is available with the complicated claims process. Legal counsel can navigate the administrative and legal proceedings on your behalf to obtain coverage of medical expenses and lost wages.