Workplace risks in the construction industry
The main workplace safety and health law in the US is the Occupation Safety and Health Act of 1970. The Act requires all private sector employers to provide a safe workplace for employees to minimize accidents, injury/health related absences, health costs and to maximize employee productivity. Laws cannot prevent accidents or even make some negligent employers ensure that their workers has a safe and healthy environment to work in. Everyday 12 workers die on the job in the US. The construction industry particularly, is one of the most dangerous industries along with agriculture and, oil and gas. It is not just deaths that are a problem for construction workers; thousands of workers deal with workplace violence and illnesses/diseases during the course of their job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic, some of the most common types of occupational injury in Oklahoma are
- Transportation accidents
- Exposure to harmful substances
- Violence or injuries caused by other people or animals
- Fires and explosions
- Equipment related injuries
- Falls and slips
Risks are everywhere, mostly in unexpected places
Employees in construction related jobs usually only look out for risks/dangerous signs in obvious places. Usually the danger is hiding in places that are not present/visible. An absence of sufficient education and training from the employer about the risks and hazards a worker can encounter at work is one of the biggest signs of danger. Access to appropriate protective gear/equipment and emergency equipment are some basic safety measures that employers must take to ensure safety. However, it is quite common for employers to be short of equipment or to be using outdated or worn out equipment. Many accidents result in life changing injury due to a lack of first aid supplies or a lack of training in instant injury management.
Most construction workers in the industry today are treated as temporary contractors rather than employees, which means that their health is not sufficiently covered. Lack of coverage by the employer means that workers are more vulnerable and more liable in case of an injury. However, it is not always the employer that is to blame. A Health and Safety Industry Survey revealed that the top workplace barriers to implementing health and safety measures was worker attitudes and lack of involvement in safety responsibilities by workers. A negligent co-worker could be the reason you or someone else gets hurt at work.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Construction List for Workers
OSHA has compiled a helpful list of safety components that all construction workers must go through to check how safe their work environment is. A negative answer to even one of the components in the list could point to an area of concern and to a potential risk at work. If you or a loved one has been hurt at work due to your employer or coworker’s negligence, you may be able to file a claim against them in court. Negligence alone is not enough to prove that someone is at fault, you will need witnesses, medical evidence, and other kinds of proof to make your case strong enough to get you the compensation you deserve.
You should contact a workers’ compensation attorney or a personal injury attorney in Oklahoma who will guide you to the best legal path. At Atkins and Markoff we have passionate and experienced attorneys in both areas. Our attorneys go the extra mile to work with you by taking care of all the necessary paperwork and court appointments. We are committed to openly communicating with each and every one of our clients, and pride ourselves on ensuring that our clients are fully aware of their legal rights throughout the process. To learn more about our law firm or to understand your rights as an injured worker, contact our law firm today!