Put Safety First During Construction Season

These days it seems like we have winter, and then we have “construction season”. In winter we have snow and ice to worry about, but for most of the rest of the year we have detour signs and other traffic obstructions to deal with. We have to remember though that however frustrating it is to be delayed in traffic back-ups, worker safety should be of top concern.

While we all see flagmen and flag women, there are many behind the scene jobs that pose a risk for injury. For example, trenching and excavation are among the most hazardous construction operations. Workers who repair water, sewer, and utility lines, road builders, and workers who perform digging operations are at greater risk for injury than many other construction workers.

Over the years, we’ve helped people who have suffered construction-related injuries, been in heavy equipment accidents, or had property damaged because of poor oversight at excavation worksites. One case that comes to mind is a gas explosion caused by someone using a backhoe without first checking for underground gas lines. The explosion impacted an entire subdivision. Workers near the blast suffered burns and loss of hearing due to ear drum damage.

Before commencing work, it is necessary to identify hazards, such as underground pipes, cables, and conduits, so that risks can be controlled or minimized. These risks include dangers of explosions, electrical shock, fire, flooding, or the release of toxic gases and hazardous fumes.

Even before starting simple home improvement projects or planting trees in your yard in Indiana, the law requires homeowners to call 811 before digging so that utilities are marked and personal injury and property damage can be avoided. Indiana’s “Call before You Dig” law, IC 8-1-26, requires everyone who digs to call 811 at least two full working days before starting a project.

If you are a construction worker, do not take unneeded risks. Be safe! If you know a construction worker, remind them to “be safe” when they are working on those projects that we all love (once they are completed).



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