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Businesses can redesign workplace for safety

On Behalf of | Sep 6, 2018 | Workers' Compensation

Construction work is a dangerous job in New Jersey. In fact, it ranked as the second-most-deadly job in the state in 2016, according to news site Some 177 construction workers were killed on the job that year, with drivers of heavy trucks and tractor-trailer trucks the only category with a higher fatality rate, 250. In comparison, the third-most-dangerous occupation was the category of laborers and freight, stock and material movers, which claimed 73 workers that year.

New Jersey follows the national norm when breaking down the causes of fatalities, with roadway accidents the leading cause, followed by falls, slips and trips. Additional causes included contact with objects and equipment and exposure to harmful substances. Most often, upper body injuries were the most common occurrence.

Along with having a high fatality rate, the construction industry is also a top place for non-fatal accidents. To improve safety in the workplace, company officials should refrain from blaming workers for the accidents and look at the incident from a different perspective. A Rutger’s University professor suggests examining the system failures that led to the accident and redesigning the workplace, as well as procedures and production processes, to eliminate incidents.

ConstructConnect offers an example for preventing slips and trips. Along with individual workers taking extra precautions around uneven surfaces, there should be safety procedures that call for the immediate cleanup of spills or garbage. Walkways should never be used to store items, even temporarily, as that could prove a hazard, especially on higher surfaces where falls are possible. Requiring non-slip boots and shoes is another measure that companies can take.

These and additional safety measures are also part of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s guidelines. If these measures are not being enforced, workers can contact OSHA and request an investigation while remaining anonymous.