If you are a construction worker in Cincinnati, risking your life while working at heights is likely par for the course. Unfortunately, many construction company owners or contractors disregard some of the prescribed safety standards to speed up construction. This could be to avoid missing deadlines and incurring penalties or to boost the bottom line by saving on costly scaffolding materials.
Did you know that you could refuse to work on an unstable or insecure scaffolding structure? Instead of relying on your employer to fulfill his or her duty to protect your health and safety on scaffolds, you can take some precautions of your own.
Never miss safety training
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires your employer to provide safety training in all aspects of construction work. Here are some reasons why you should avoid missing any training sessions:
- Roper training will keep you up to date with OSHA requirements.
- With training in the setup and the construction of scaffolds, you can assess the safety of a scaffold structure before you get onto it.
- Even if you are not involved in the erection of the structure, proper training will help you in determining the risk of an insecure rig that might collapse and cause severe injuries or worse.
Although OSHA requires a qualified professional to check scaffolds for safety, it cannot harm you also to give it the once-over.
Look out for new hazards
The fact that the scaffold is safe one day does not mean it will remain secure. Keep a lookout for the following:
- Review the structure for new hazards throughout the project.
- Weather conditions such as high winds and rain can compromise the stability of the scaffold.
- Beware of becoming complacent after several days with no incidents.
Complacency has claimed the lives of many construction workers.
Identify electrocution risks
Overhead power lines pose deadly risks. The following steps might keep you safe:
- Compliance with safety standards about the distance to keep clear under power lines is crucial.
- Never get onto a scaffold that is too close to electrocution hazards.
- Do the same evaluation with each repositioning of the scaffold during the project.
The fact that the structure was stable and safe in one location does not mean it will be safe elsewhere.
Organize your workplace
Working at elevated levels will always pose fall risks, and the following factors can threaten your safety:
- Wet scaffold planks can cause you to slip and fall off the structure.
- Randomly placed tools and building materials on the workspace can cause trip-and-fall accidents.
- Unsecured tools can drop onto workers at lower levels.
While you take precautions not to drop tools onto co-workers, wear your hard hat because workers above you might not be as cautious.
Don’t rush — slow down
While all construction projects have deadlines and budgets, never let that cause you to rush and take shortcuts. Your employer might learn to appreciate your high level of work and efficiency instead of dealing with higher insurance premiums due to frequent workplace injuries.
Never lose sight of Murphy’s Law
Remember that what could go wrong will go wrong. Despite all the precautions you take to protect yourself, another worker’s negligence or mistake can send you to the hospital. When that happens, the Ohio workers’ compensation system will have your back. You might find comfort in knowing that you need not deal with the complicated benefits claim on your own. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Cincinnati can provide valuable assistance in pursuit of benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages.