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Most Common Risks for Construction Workers in New York City

Construction workers in New York City face some of the most dangerous working conditions in the country. Many of these hazards result from the failure of employers and other contractors to meet federal safety standards. This means two things: (1) many accidents on construction sites are preventable; (2) when accidents do occur, construction companies and contractors are often to blame for workers’ injuries and losses.

Top 10 most common construction site safety violations, according to OSHA

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the 10 most common safety violations on construction sites in the United States are as follows:

  1. Lack of fall protection: falls are among the most common accidents on construction sites, accounting for nearly 40% of all construction-related deaths. For fall protection, OSHA recommends, among others: floor hole protectors, guardrails, footboards, machine guards, harnesses and safety cables.
  2. Lack of effective hazard communication: Where hazardous chemicals are present on construction sites, OSHA safety standards require all employers to ensure proper labeling and provide adequate training to their employees.
  3. Defective scaffolding: defective scaffolding causes numerous fatal accidents each year. Common problems include sagging planks and supports, slippery surfaces, and exposure to falling objects.
  4. Inadequate respiratory protection: Employers must provide respiratory protection for workers who are exposed to dust, smoke, fumes and other harmful substances at work. OSHA reports that failure to comply with its respiratory protection standards results in hundreds of deaths and thousands of illnesses each year.
  5. Inadequate control of sources of hazardous electricity (lockout/tagout): Discharges of electricity due to inadequate lockout/tagout practices and procedures often cause electrocutions, burns, injuries, fractures and other serious damage.
  6. Motorized commercial vehicle accidents: Forklift accidents are usually caused by a lack of safety on construction sites and a lack of operator training. The cause of motor vehicle accidents is often attributed to problems such as inadequate weight compensation, overly heavy loads, and negligent operation.
  7. Dangerous ladders and inadequate ladder safety: Ladders are one of the most common pieces of equipment on construction sites, and ladder safety is essential to prevent many types of dangerous injuries. Proper ladder safety includes making sure that ladders are clean and in good condition, and that helpers are available to support them when needed.
  8. Defective electrical wiring methods, components, and equipment: We all know the hazards of electricity, and OSHA requires employers to provide adequate protection against electrical shock, electrocution, electrical fire, and explosion. Unfortunately, many employers do not protect their employees from the hazards of working around energized wires.
  9. Lack of adequate safety guards for machines: OSHA requires employers to provide safety guards when a machine may injure its operator or other workers around it.
  10. Defective electrical system designs: In addition to using safe methods and materials for electrical wiring, employers must also ensure that electrical systems located on their construction sites are properly designed to avoid the risk of serious or fatal injury.

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