Approximately 4,500 people are killed in construction site accidents annually, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA. This equates to over a dozen deaths each day. Thousands more are injured in construction site accidents, and oftentimes seriously so, according to OSHA.
OSHA has identified what it calls the “Fatal Four,” the most common types of accidents that cause serious injuries and fatalities each year. The Fatal Four are:
- falls – 39 percent
- struck by object – 10 percent
- electrocution – 9 percent
- caught in between – 7 percent
When it comes to cleaning up a construction site in the aftermath of an accident, OSHA has established both specific requirements and recommendations to guide remediation. In the final analysis, these requirements and recommendations are designed to ensure that no one else is injured in the aftermath of a construction site incident.
Securing and Restricting Access to Accident Zone
The most urgent task in the aftermath of a construction site accident is securing and restricting access to the accident zone, according to OSHA. Odds are strong that when an accident occurs at a construction site a hazard of some sort may have existed and continue to exist following the initial incident that gave rise to the injury or death of a worker.
For example, although worker negligence may be a contributing factor, there could be a hazard present at a construction site that proves to be the primary cause of an accident. The same certainly holds true if the accident arises from something like electrocution or chemical exposure.
The accident zone needs to be immediately cordoned off and restricted, pursuant to OSHA guidelines. Depending on the nature and extent of a possible onsite danger, the restriction may need to extend until professional remediation experts can be on scene for an evaluation and perhaps to fully cleanup up and eliminate a hazard.
Proper Personal Protection: Keeping the Cleanup Team Safe and Secure
OSHA has developed a specific set of regulations associated with personal protective gear and equipment to be utilized in the aftermath of a construction site accident. The regulations extend to workers of a contractor or subcontractor regularly engaged in work at the construction site. In addition, the regulations extend to other personnel additionally contracted to be on site to assist with remediation and cleanup following some sort of accident or incident that resulted in the injury or death of a worker.
Appropriate Cleanup Equipment and Supplies
On a related note, OSHA delineates specific types of incident specific cleanup and remediation equipment and supplies that must be utilized in response to an accident or incident at a construction site. The regulations address everything from a chemical cleanup to post-fire remediation as well as a broad set of other types of construction site incidents.
Proper Disposal of Potentially Hazardous Substances
OSHA is one of what can amount to multiple agencies that are involved in regulating the collection and disposal of potentially hazardous substances. OSHA maintains regulations regarding how a hazardous substance, like a chemical spill, is to be cleaned up at a construction site. Other agencies, like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, also maintain regulations relevant to the disposal of hazardous materials from a construction site.
OSHA has established specific guidelines regarding the timeframe for which certain types of hazards at a construction site must be remediated and addressed. These guidelines particularly pertain to chemicals and biohazards that might end up underpinning the injury or death of a worker at a construction site.
Worker Retraining and Supplemental Education
In the aftermath of certain types of construction site accidents that result in injury or death, OSHA regulations may necessitate worker retraining. In addition, upon an onsite inspection by OSHA in the aftermath of an accident, worker may training may also be recommended or mandated by the agency.
Proactive Training and Designation of Response Team
OSHA also has a series of industry specific regulations, including for the construction industry, that set forth training protocols for workers in particular environments. These regulations include training requirements associated with specific types of potential risks that can and do exist at construction sites. These training protocols and regulations tend to be tightly focused on specifically defined types of construction sites.
Proper OSHA Notification
OSHA requires that any severe injury at a construction site requiring inpatient hospitalization must be reported to the agency within 24 hours. OSHA regulations mandate that a construction site fatality must be reported to the agency within eight hours.
There are three ways in which a report can be made to OSHA. The nearest OSHA office can be telephoned. The 24-hours OSHA hotline can be called at (800) 321-6742. A report can be filed online via the agency’s website.
A report must include the business name, the name of the employee, the location and time of the accident or incident, a brief description of what occurred, and the name and contact number of a supervisory individual associated with the construction site.