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The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has been around for what seems like forever, protecting workers’ rights to a safe and accident-free workplace.
Construction accidents are one of the biggest sources of workplace incidents – so it only makes sense that the health and safety watchdog has such a strong role in keeping construction sites free from potentially debilitating or even fatal incidents from occurring in the first place.
Accidents and injuries at construction sites have always had the potential to be serious. The dangers of a typical construction site are manifold; when you combine heavy equipment, power tools, construction materials, and working from height with outdoor environments that often feature weather beyond your control, in many ways you’re asking for accidents to happen. Construction sites may often be more dangerous than industrial fabrication facilities in this way, though these types of work sites are also often inherently dangerous.
How many accidents are we talking about? Well, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are roughly 150,000 accidents on construction sites across the United States on an annual basis. Meanwhile, OSHA itself says that works out to about one in ten construction workers.
Finally, when it comes to fatalities, the numbers are even grimmer: the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that in 2019 alone there were 991 fatal accidents. This easily makes the construction industry the most dangerous one in the entire United States.
If you’re a construction business owner or site supervisor, safety needs to be job one for you and your organization. This can be a difficult decision to make on the surface, as working safely can often impact productivity.
Following specific health and safety practices for construction sites often means reducing the overall speed at which a construction project can be completed, and this can be a bitter pill to swallow indeed. In a fast-paced, cutthroat industry sector such as construction, you need every advantage you can get to stay ahead of your competitors, after all.
Yet the alternative is much worse. Not stressing the importance of working safely will exacerbate the already highly dangerous nature of construction. It’s almost a guarantee to having to halt work on a site because of constant accidents and injuries disrupts productivity even more than having to slow down and take things safely.
Plus, the costs associated with the aftermath of even a single bad accident can easily turn what would have been a profitable construction project into one where you end up deeply in the red; sidelined workers aren’t productive, and insurance and Workers’ Compensation-related costs can eat into a profit margin very quickly.
OSHA knows how important a construction site safety is. It’s why there are so many OSHA rules and regulations to prevent construction accidents, why the penalties for violating these rules and regulations are so steep, and why OSHA inspectors are exacting and exhaustive when it comes to seeking out violations.
Remember: the goal is not to ruin your business – it’s to keep your workers safe and productive. So always choose to comply with OSHA; construction accidents can be avoided if you do so.
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