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Proactive workplace safety reduces construction accidents

Heavy machinery, power tools and working in high places create many workplace hazards at construction sites in Pennsylvania. Employers have an obligation to inform workers about the dangers and train them in safety procedures. According to the 2018 Safety Performance Report from the Associated Builders and Contractors, proactive efforts to prevent accidents produce substantial results. The organization's Safety Performance Evaluation Process has been shown to improve safety by as much as 670 percent above the industry average.

A central component of the process requires employers to provide safety orientations that address specific onsite hazards. Approaches to training can include toolbox talks and setting up a safety committee. When accidents occur, managers should analyze what happened and learn from mistakes. Engaging employees in the process represents an important element, but the report highlighted the need for upper management to make safety a priority as well.

Overall, the construction industry still faces safety challenges. The Center for Construction Research and Training has identified a 33 percent increase in deaths related to caught-in or caught-between accidents from 2011 to 2015. Struck-by accidents claimed over 800 lives during that same period. Vehicles present a formidable source of struck-by injuries: Among those who died, 18 percent of them had been struck by a vehicle.

When someone dies on the job, workers comp may provide death benefits to the person's surviving family. On-the-job injuries could qualify for benefits such as compensation for medical treatment, rehabilitation and lost pay. A person hurt in a construction site accident might need legal help to access these benefits. An attorney may confront an employer that is discouraging an insurance claim. Legal representation might also help the person challenge a low settlement offer from an insurance company that is attempting to withhold coverage documented within a policy.

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