Year after year, the construction industry is one of the most dangerous workplaces in Iowa and across the country. Under the safety standards mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, your safety is the responsibility of your employer. If the construction company owner does not prioritize the safety of you and your co-workers, your chance of ending up in a hospital with debilitating injuries are high.
How safe are you on a remote site?
If you work alone at a remote construction site, you will need a lot more than just safety goggles and a hard hat. The most essential item among your personal protection equipment as a lone worker is your means of communication. If your employers are not in constant contact, you could end up suspended in a fall harness, electrocuted or unconscious after a crushing or struck-by incident. These are but some of the circumstances in which you must feel confident of your employer’s commitment to your safety.
“Fatal Four” hazards
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has identified the following four hazards as the causes of almost 60% of all construction workers’ injuries nationwide:
- Electrocution: Many construction projects occur near power lines — both overhead and underground. Also, defective or malfunctioning electrical or gas-powered equipment will put you at risk of severe burn injuries and even electrocution.
- Falls from heights: Falls pose the most significant risks on construction sites. For that reason, you should insist on adequate training in the correct use of fall arrest systems and threats of suspension trauma.
- Caught-in and crushed-by hazards: There is never a shortage of large machines and equipment on construction sites, creating the risk of becoming caught in the working parts of machinery. Working in excavations and trenches poses crushing injury risks, and even death from asphyxiation.
- Struck-by risks: With all the moving equipment on construction sites, stuck-by injuries are prevalent. They happen when there is a forcible impact or contact between you and a piece of machinery or a construction vehicle.
If you look at your employer’s emergency response system, it could give you insight into the company’s commitment to your safety. Whether you work on site or at a remote location, concise and clear protocols with easy-to-understand instructions are crucial. Monitoring by employers and frequent check-ins by workers are essential, and when you are at a remote site, check-ins must happen at shorter intervals.
Your rights to compensation
You are entitled to workers’ compensation insurance benefits, and it is always a good idea to be prepared and know the procedures to follow in the event of an injury at the construction site. The benefits claims process could be challenging, but help is available. An attorney who has experience in working on getting maximum benefits for injured workers in Iowa can provide support, guidance and advocacy along every step of the way.