North Carolina construction accident illustrates fatal dangers
In September of this year, two men were working on a construction site in Wilmington, North Carolina. According to WITN, the men were killed as a result of an incident involving a track hoe and a power line. While the operator of the track hoe was not injured, the two men standing nearby were affected because the ground became energized, firefighters said.
Electrocution is just one of the four types of fatal incidents that threaten construction workers in North Carolina and across the country. Knowing what those incidents are is key in preventing them.
According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, falls accounted for the deaths of 349 construction workers in 2014, making them the deadliest event to occur in the industry. The threat has prompted OSHA to launch a prevention program that encourages companies to provide adequate equipment and training to workers in the hopes of preventing an on-the-job accident.
For example, if a job requires an employee to do a job from a height, there should be fall arrest equipment in place. OSHA notes that anyone who is at least 6 feet above ground are at serious risk.
Electrocutions are the second leading cause of death in the construction industry, accounting for 8.5 percent of all such fatalities in 2014. OSHA encourages workers to keep a safe distance from power sources to ensure their safety. Further, all tools – with or without extension cords – should always be inspected and used for their intended purposes.
Employers should supply workers with items such as ground-fault circuit interrupters and training on how to identify and isolate power sources. It is imperative that anyone doing digging or excavation work with a utility company to determine where underground lines may be.
In 2014, 73 construction workers were killed due to a struck-by incident. This often involves moving vehicles, but flying objects or building masonry walls also pose a threat.
OSHA recommends that anyone operating a vehicle ensure that there is a clear path. All personnel on a construction site should wear a hardhat and use any other protective measures, such as debris nets and toe boards, which can prevent a workplace accident.
The last major fatal threat that construction workers face is a caught in or caught between situation, which accounted for 12 deaths in 2014. These events typically involve crushing injuries, caused by situations such as cave-ins or getting pulled into machinery.
Workers are encouraged to ensure that machines are properly guarded and excavation projects have the correct protective systems in place. People who work with heavy machinery should avoid wearing jewelry and loose clothing, according to OSHA.
In North Carolina, people who are injured on the job are typically entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Anyone with questions about filing a claim should consult with an attorney.