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How can I protect myself from injuries on a construction site?

If you are one of the approximately 80,000 construction workers the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics reports are currently employed in Alabama, you are exposed to workplace hazards daily. In fact, although construction represents 4.3 percent of the Alabama workforce, the industry has the second highest workplace fatality rate in the state. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration addresses unsafe working conditions in construction by identifying hazards and helping employers and workers to eliminate risks.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, your primary workplace risk is a fall, as these are the number one cause of construction injuries and fatalities. Falls are also the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. On the jobsite, be on the lookout for issues such as holes in floors, improper scaffold construction and protruding rebars. OSHA recommends guardrails and other systems that prevent falls. You will want to use safety nets and fall arrest devices as well, but these tend to be less effective since they are designed to prevent injury after a fall has occurred.

Electrical incidents are another primary cause of workplace injuries that you can prevent with proper safety techniques. The high voltage carried by power lines are sources of electrical burns, explosions, fire and death. You should watch for power line indicators and assume that they are energized. OSHA recommends insulating lines and posting warning signs. Electrical equipment is another common source of electrocution. Always use equipment according to manufacturer guidelines and replace worn and damaged equipment before it becomes a hazard.

Prevention is a critical part of workplace safety in the construction industry. Following OSHA guidelines can make the difference between life or death.

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