Two weeks ago, a worker was injured while working at a construction site in Portsmouth, Virginia. The worker was standing 25 feet high on scaffolding when construction equipment crashed down on him, knocking him unconscious.
The fire department was called to the scene that morning and brought the worker down from the three-story-high scaffolding using the fire truck’s ladder. He was quickly transported to the hospital after his rescue, but police are not permitted to release the extent of the worker’s injuries.
The Accident at Portsmouth Construction Site Was Likely Preventable
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration for Virginia says it is currently in the earlier stages of an investigation into the cause of this accident. So far, KBS Construction has yet to be fined for any violations of safety standards.
For the most part, however, OSHA violations are the more common causes of construction sites. In this instance, it may be possible the worker was not provided hard hat protection to prevent head injuries when the objects fell. It is also possible the materials that fell on the worker were not properly secured. OSHA calls this a “struck-by hazard.”
How Can I Avoid Struck-By Hazards?
OSHA recommends the following to avoid injuries caused by struck-by hazards:
- Be aware of all heavy operating equipment on site and stay away from them if at all possible
- Stay clear of lifted loads and never walk under one. As someone who is lifting a load, never lift above areas where people are standing
- Stay clear of unbalanced loads
- Know the swinging radius of the cranes you are working with and stay clear of that area
- All hauling vehicles must have a cab shield helping to protect the operator from falling debris or materials
- All equipment must be maintained and checked regularly
- All personnel must be trained on safety standards
While it’s true most companies would rather cut corners on safety in order to save on costs, this puts workers at risk. Workers who become injured due to a scaffolding accident, such as the accident in Portsmouth, are at risk to severe or fatal injuries. OSHA needs to better regulate the safety standards of the construction sites in Virginia.
Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P. is an injury law firm that helps victims of construction accidents in Washington D.C., Fairfax, Virginia and Greenbelt, Maryland.