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Construction Immortality is a Myth

Jeff Koeppel, K&B Electric LLC   August 31, 2015


Moving forward in 2015 and beyond, well respected construction industry experts believe new construction is on an upswing! For those working in the industry, put on those hardhats and enjoy the work-filled years ahead!

As we all gladly secure our fair share of new projects, let's all remember to keep safety management as our number one priority, all day and everyday! The fatal injury rate for the 

construction industry is higher than the national average in this category for all industries.

Falls are the leading cause of over 200 fatalities in the U.S. each year, and the second-most common cause of serious non-fatal injuries (over 10,000 each year) for construction workers, representing one-third of on-the-job fatalities within the construction industry, and most are from heights of 10 feet or less.

Ladder-related falls account for 16% of all fatal falls and about a fourth of all fall-related injuries. Case studies show that, when an electric shock occurs while in an elevated state (that is on a ladder), the fall that results can kill you if the electrical shock doesn't.

Slips, trips and falls on stairways and over electrical cords, equipment and materials create additional types of fall-related fatalities and injuries.

Other potential hazards for construction workers include a scaffold collapse, electric shock and arc flash/arc blast, the overlooking of excavation and trenching safety procedures, improper use of cranes (workers struck by an overhead load or the boom of a crane, or its load line contacts an overhead power line), failure to use proper personal protective equipment (PPE), and repetitive motion injuries.

For top quality electrical safety behaviors and management, I strongly encourage everyone to adhere to the below OSHA guidelines:

  • Work on new and existing energized (hot) electrical circuits is prohibited until all power is shut off and grounds are attached.
  • An effective Lockout/Tagout system is in place.
  • Frayed, damaged or worn electrical cords or cables are promptly replaced.
  • All extension cords have grounding prongs.
  • Protect flexible cords and cables from damage. Sharp corners and projections should be avoided.
  • Use extension cord sets used with portable electric tools and appliances that are the three-wire type and designed for hard or extra-hard service. (Look for some of the following letters imprinted on the casing: S, ST, SO, STO.)
  • All electrical tools and equipment are maintained in safe condition and checked regularly for defects and taken out of service if a defect is found.
  • Do not bypass any protective system or device designed to protect employees from contact with electrical energy.
  • Overhead electrical power lines are located and identified.
  • Ensure that ladders, scaffolds, equipment or materials never come within 10 feet of electrical power lines.
  • All electrical tools must be properly grounded unless they are of the double insulated type.
  • Multiple plug adapters are prohibited.

Please operate safe smart--none of us are immortal, thus, the potential negative impact on medical, wages, and quality-of-life could be enormous.

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