Every California resident deserves a safe work environment and most employers strive to provide one. The problem is that despite every effort, keeping employees in some industries safe is a constant battle. For instance, preventing road construction workers accidents within the confines of the job site is often easier than protecting workers from motorists on the roadways on which they work.
The risks of falls are par for the course in the construction industry nationwide, including in California. Workers might find comfort in knowing that their employers provide fall arrest systems to those who work at heights. However, they may not know that the danger continues after the PPE arrested the fall. Suspension trauma can claim the lives of workers who are suspended and waiting to be rescued.
Spending the holidays in a California hospital and fighting to overcome critical injuries is not something wished upon anyone. Sadly, construction workers' accidents can happen when least expected. An incident sent a construction worker in the Santa Clarita Valley to a Valencia hospital after a fall from a roof at a construction site.
The construction industry is dangerous. Regardless of how many safety precautions are taken, construction workers' accidents are relatively common. The Los Angeles Fire Department recently rushed to a work site at which a construction worker almost lost his life. The quick responses of co-workers helped, and rescuers rushed the victim to a hospital where he is now fighting for his life.
Cave-ins and collapses of trenches are high on the list of causes for death and severe workplace injuries on construction sites nationwide, including California. State and federal safety agencies prescribe strict safety regulations, along with guidelines to prevent trench-related construction workers accidents. Sadly, in many cases, profits are prioritized over worker safety, and some employers regard trench safety as too time-consuming and costly.
According to safety authorities, falls remain the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry in California and across the country, and the unsafe use of ladders are often the cause. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says almost one-third of the annual fall-related deaths in construction involves ladders. Ladder safety should be practiced throughout the year and not only during the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction.
Earlier this year, in March, a worker lost his life while working near the France Pavilion at the Epcot Center, located in the Walt Disney World Resort. Another construction workers accident, this time in California, claimed a second life on a Disney property on a recent Thursday. This time, the Anaheim paramedics that had to rush to Disneyland in response to a workplace accident.
Despite the emphasis programs for trench safety run by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, lives continue to be lost in cave-ins. The Los Angeles Fire Department recently reported one of many construction workers accidents involving the collapse of unsupported trenches. This time it claimed the life of a worker who worked in a trench at a residential property.
Federal safety authorities, along with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health remind construction company owners and their workers that trenches can be early graves because a cave-in can be deadly. Trench collapses are traumatic experiences, and those who are fortunate enough to survive could suffer severe physical and emotional damages. Hopefully, the National Trench Safety Stand Down will encourage compliance with safety standards, which might prevent tragic construction workers accidents.
A survivor of the 1971 explosion in the Sylmar Tunnel that was built to bring water to downtown Los Angeles from the California Aqueduct is now an advocate for workplace safety. He recently stated that he would not want to be a part of the construction crew involved in the planned building of a tunnel through some of California's most significant gas fields to divert water from the Sacramento River. He warns that digging around the gas wells will pose high risks of construction workers accidents.