Texas Mutual Workers' Compensation Insurance - Work Safe, Texas

Preventing
Construction Accidents,

Saving Lives

En Español Construction worker leaning against rock wall looking at jobsite

Construction Hazards in Focus

Not all construction industry hazards are created equally. Some are so dangerous that they have earned special attention from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). They’re called the focus four, and they collectively account for nearly 60 percent of construction worker deaths. Eliminating the accidents would save 500 lives per year, according to OSHA. Texas Mutual encourages employers and their workers to do their part.

Falls

Falls account for 40 percent of construction workers fatalities, making them the most dangerous of the focus four hazards:

Fall protection. Use fall protection when working at heights of six feet or more. Remember that regardless of the fall distance, employers must provide fall protection when employees work over dangerous equipment and machinery. Inspect fall protection before each use for broken parts, stress cracks, frayed or kinked ropes and other damage.

Walking/working surfaces. Guard skylights, ramps, edges, wall openings, open-sided floors and other walking/working surfaces.

Scaffolds. Scaffolds should be designed by a competent person and include guardrails along open sides and ends. Inspect guardrails, connectors, fastenings, footings, tie-ins, bracing and planking for damage. Remove damaged scaffolds from service immediately, and never exceed a scaffold’s intended load or rated capacity.

Ladders. Inspect ladders for damage and slippery rungs. Maintain three-point contact when working on ladders, and keep your body between the rails at all times to avoid over-reaching. Finally, leverage NIOSH’s ladder safety app to help employees set up and use ladders properly.

Housekeeping. A clean, orderly workplace promotes productivity and reduces the risk of slips, trips and falls. Keep walkways, stairs and exits clear of merchandise, supplies and cleaning products. Clean up spills as soon as possible, and use “Caution: Wet Floor” signs in the meantime. In wet weather, use slip-resistant floor mats to keep people’s feet on solid ground. For more ideas, read our 4 Tips for a Slip, Trip and Fall-Free Work Day.

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Struck-by injuries

There are four common causes of struck-by injuries: flying, falling, swinging and rolling objects.

Flying objects. Any time workers use power tools and do tasks that require pushing, pulling and prying, they are at risk of being struck by flying objects. For example, a nail fired from a nail gun might travel through a wall and hit another worker in the eye:

Falling objects. We are at risk from falling objects when we work underneath cranes, scaffolds and other overhead work. For example, a New Jersey man recently died when a tape measure fell from 400 feet above and hit him in the head:

Swinging objects. Mechanically lifted materials can swing, twist or turn and strike workers:

Rolling objects. One of the most common accidents involving rolling objects is when a worker is hit by a vehicle in a work zone:

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Electrical hazards

The primary causes of electrical hazards are contact with overhead powerlines, contact with energized sources and improper use of extension cords.

Overhead powerlines. Overhead and buried powerlines carry high voltage that can cause electrocutions, severe burns and falls:

Energized sources. Live parts, damaged or bare wires and defective equipment and tools can cause electrical shocks and burns:

Extension cords. The normal wear and tear on extension and flexible cords can loosen or expose wires, creating a hazardous condition:

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Caught-in or -between hazards

Caught-in or -between injuries happen when workers are crushed between objects. Common examples include cave-ins, workers being pulled into machinery and workers crushed between rolling, sliding or shifting objects.

Cave-ins:

Caught in machinery:

Crushed between objects:

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Texas Fifth Wall Roofing Systems

Todd Hewitt is president of Texas Fifth Wall Roofing Systems, a commercial roofing firm based in Austin. His approach to safety emphasizes “family,” reminding his workers they have people at home counting on them.

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