Most people working in construction are more than aware of the risks from above and those that are easily seen, but the latest data now suggests there are more risks than construction workers and site foremen may realize. In fact, it is estimated that a worker is injured once a minute during digs, and digging is a common find on a construction site.
Even employees that use every precaution available to them could be at risk, which is why it is imperative that construction workers, site supervisors and subcontractors be aware of those risks and how to avoid them.
Understanding the Dangers
Even the most experienced construction workers can find themselves in a dangerous situation. Employees, however, should not always be in a constant state of panic – worrying whether or not they will be injured that day. Certain locations and situations, however, require construction workers to be on guard and ready for danger. Some accidents that are common with underground work include:
- Striking a power line. This is a common injury that occurs when an employee is digging around wires, conduits or electrical transformers. Workers should not trust utility markers and should always proceed with caution when breaking ground.
- Dealing with gas lines. Gas lines and accidents with such lines can be devastating. Workers should not only confirm that the gas is turned off, but at the first sign of a leak, they and fellow workers must evacuate the area and immediately contact the local gas company.
- Manhole, cleanouts and sewer drains. Falls and trips are one of the more common accidents in these situations. All it takes is a single misstep for a worker to be seriously injured. Jobsite supervisors should place physical barriers around these areas to prevent injury and ensure no one falls into an open manhole.
- Digging around underground fuel tanks. Digging around underground fuel storage tanks, vent pipes, etc., can lead to disastrous consequences for workers. When these are unmarked during the initial survey, workers can accidentally strike these units when breaking ground.
Preventing Underground Accidents and Injuries
Human error is the most common factor in these types of accidents. When lines are not properly marked or employees do not proceed with caution, accidents will occur. It is the employer’s job to ensure the geophysical assessment is accurate and that their employees also proceed with caution regardless of whether the lines have been marked off. Prior to digging, employers should also look for physical disturbances in the ground and ensure employees never use hand tools to assess the stability or safety of a dig site.
Injured Workers Deserve Compensation
If you were injured on the job site because of inaccurate markings or lack of safety protocols, you are entitled to workers’ compensation for those injuries. Contact the attorneys at Malman Law today by calling 888-307-7068 or fill out an online contact form with your questions.