Ramón Ramírez, 30 years old, fractured spine.
César Canales, 41 years old, four fractures in the head, another under the left eye and a broken disc in the neck.
Manuel Morán, 36 years old, quadriplegic.
The cases of these three men have one element in common: they fell or slipped on unprotected scaffolding. Unfortunately, stories like these are repeated daily. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), these accidents are the main cause of death in construction, accounting for 38.7% of all fatalities. To put it in perspective: in 2016 alone, 384 people died, which is equivalent to more than one a day.
In the United States, all workers, regardless of their immigration status, have the right to a safe workplace, which includes receiving training and the necessary safety equipment. But beyond just waiting for the measures of the employer, workers can also take their own, such as:
• Always wear a safety helmet, gloves, harnesses and shoes with studs
• If you do not have the proper knowledge to properly install a scaffold, ask a trained person to do so.
• Ensure that the scaffold tubes are not deformed or weakened, the planks are properly installed and not moving, and there are safety rails, protective meshes and baseboards installed
• Access the scaffolding only through the designated routes
• Confirm that the ropes and harnesses are not broken or torn
• Never use a scaffold covered with snow, ice or any slippery substance, or place unclamped barrels, boxes or ladders
• Be alert of what happens around, especially of objects or tools that may fall from above
• Perform safety and occupational health training with instructors authorized by OSHA. You can find all the information in Spanish here: https://www.osha.gov/dte/.
If you have suffered an accident at work, the law firm Ginarte can help you. For a free consultation call 1-888-446-2783 or visit https://www.ginarte.com.