Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

What are the Most Commonly Violated OSHA Standards?

How many workers suffer from a construction injury each year? Construction is a dangerous business. Many of these injuries are the direct result of nonexistent or lax enforcement of safety standards on the construction site. Information gathered by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) showed that in 2015, 4,379 private sector workers died as the result of injuries sustained at work. Of these, 937 were construction workers. This means 21.4%, or more than 1 in 5 workers who die at work do so while building everything from homes and businesses to highways and bridges.

Falls are the most commonly cited cause of death in the construction industry. They accounted for 364 of the 937 deaths recorded in 2015. That same year, 90 workers died following a strike by an object such as a falling load or heavy beam. A further 81 workers died following an electrocution event, and 67 died after they were caught between objects on the construction site, such as becoming trapped between construction materials or moving vehicles and construction equipment.

According to OSHA, there are ten commonly cited violations of standards which can lead to a construction injury or fatality. These include violations of fall protection standards, inadequate hazard communication, scaffolding violations, failure to provide or maintain respiratory protection, lockout/tagout, powered industrial trucks, ladders, machine guarding, electrical wiring, and general electrical requirements.

Inadequate fall protection is a leading cause of death or injury. Examples of failure to protect workers from falls from height include not installing guardrails, failing to secure walkways and scaffolding, failing to provide workers with safety harnesses, and failing to keep the job site free of debris and loose material which can cause construction workers to lose their footing.

Another common cause of workplace injury for construction workers is chemical exposure. In 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 34,400 skin diseases, 19,300 respiratory illnesses stemming from chemical exposure in the workplace. Many of these injuries occurred because employers failed to properly label chemicals used on the work site or failed to provide workers with adequate protective equipment including masks, goggles, respirators, etc. for handling chemicals.

Construction workers, including roofers and electricians, are at the greatest risk of suffering electrocution injuries. To help protect workers, OSHA frequently updates safety guidelines regarding minimum approach distances, arc flash protection, and requirements relating to the types of protective equipment employers must provide their personnel.

Construction injuries can quite easily have life changing consequences that continue long after the worker has left the hospital. These include injuries that limit their ability to continue working. Workers who suffer traumatic brain injury in a fall, experience decreased mobility due to a crushing injury, or suffer neurological damage following an electrocution injury may suffer permanent damage which prevents them from continuing in their chosen career.

Construction is a deadly serious business but that doesn't mean workers must bear all of the responsibility if their employer negligently fails to protect them from suffering a construction injury. Construction workers who have been injured in a construction accident in Hugoton, Topeka, Dodge City, Great Bend, Wichita, Garden City, Dodge City, or anywhere in Kansas should contact Brad Pistotnik to discuss the legal options available. The sooner you pursue your claim, the sooner you can receive the funds needed to cover your medical expenses and treatment so that you can recover and return to work.

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