The Dangers of Working in Confined Spaces
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, about 92 workers die every year in confined space-related accidents on the job. Some of the people most at risk include those working in water towers, grain silos, vaults, storage bins and accessing electrical units. Also in danger are people who work in trenches and temporary structures.
A confined work space does not necessarily mean working deep underground in cramped quarters. A confined space is any area where a worker cannot easily enter or exit. Often, it means workers are exposed to toxic gases, limited oxygen, and extreme temperatures. If they are overcome by any of these environmental conditions, they risk losing consciousness.
Because the space is small, a worker may be alone. No one may know they are in distress until it is too late. The limited size of the work space can also hinder rescue attempts by coworkers or emergency personnel.
Minimizing the Dangers
It is the legal and moral responsibility of employers to provide their workers with a safe environment. That being said, risks cannot always be avoided because of the very nature of some tasks.
Still, employers must do everything they can to assess hazards and to communicate proper emergency procedures to workers who are putting their health and lives on the line. Some of these measures include:
- Identifying entry and exit barriers
- Maintaining ventilation systems
- Establishing rescue protocols and providing rescue equipment
- Monitoring workers or having periodic check-ins
- Assessing working conditions on a regular basis
One unfortunate problem is that too many companies do not give serious consideration to safety. They may take shortcuts in an effort to save money. They may accept the health risk to workers as an acceptable cost of doing business. They may be incompetent. Or they may just not care.
Maximizing Your Future
If you or a loved one has been injured in a confined working space, your life can turn into a never-ending series of medical appointments. You may be out of work and unable to support your family. Your employer probably is not going to admit any responsibility for your injuries. In fact, it is more likely that they will blame you. An insurance company, aware that you are financially desperate, will tempt you with a lowball offer that does not come close to covering your current and future expenses. The legal process for pursuing a valid claim can be costly, timely and is seemingly designed to frustrate you every step of the way.
The Mississippi workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyers at Tabor Law Firm PA have experience fighting for the rights of injured workers just like you. With offices in Ridgeland and Jackson, we know how to make the state’s complex legal system work in your favor. We will give you the professional and personal attention that you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.