The arrival of spring means warmer temperatures, more precipitation and an explosion of plant and animal life suddenly visible after the dreary Pennsylvania winter. It could also lead to a massive uptick in the demand for construction services.
When the weather is nice, more people want to work on their homes or to push forward with other major projects. Although construction workers often do their job year-round, they will have different risks each season. Springtime can be a particularly dangerous time due not just to the increase in the demand for work but also to the effects of the weather on the construction site.
Earthmoving or excavation is the deadliest part of construction
Excavation, such as digging, moving soil or working in trenches, is the most hazardous part of construction work. People who perform excavation work have 112% of the risk for workplace fatalities than people in other construction specialties. Cave-ins, falling tools and even a trip that leads to someone falling into a trench can end in severe injury or tragedy.
Spring can increase the safety risks associated with excavation and working in trenches. Wet, saturated soil may shift under the pressure of equipment, while changing temperatures can result in ground heave that affects the stability of a trench.
Companies working in construction should invest in proper support and bring in professionals to design deeper trenches. Unfortunately, cutting corners in this area of construction remains commonplace despite the statistical risk for the workers.
Many caught-between incidents involve trench issues
The construction industry tracks the four leading causes of worker fatalities, dubbed the “fatal four” by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. These include electrocution, caught-in or caught-between incidents and struck-by object incidents.
When the edges of a trench collapse, workers may suffer caught-in or caught-between injuries, which can prove fatal. There have already been multiple excavation-related fatalities this spring, and unless companies start prioritizing the safety of workers, additional incidents will inevitably occur.
Workers hurt in an excavation-related incident on those who lose a loved one in a tragic construction incident may have grounds for compensation claims through workers’ compensation or even the courts.