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According to the United States Department of Labor, one out of every 10 construction workers is injured each year. Construction workers that spend 45 years in a trade have a one out of 200 chance of dying. Falls from roofs, ladders, and scaffolds represent the most frequent cause of construction site injuries.
One government agency mandates and implements workplace safety regulations that protect construction workers from becoming statistics in a Department of Labor report
OSHA and the Right to Safety at Construction Sites
Created by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration operates under the guidance of the Department of Labor to oversee safety and health programs that benefit workers in high risk trades such as construction. OSHA safety and health guidelines for construction workers apply strictly to construction sites, not safety issues that arise at a construction business office or warehouse. If you are an employee of a construction company, it is important to know the legal rights you have that OSHA enforces.
- Gain immediate access to employee medical records
- Request that the OSHA director of the area where you work inspect your workplace to uncover violations in workplace safety and health standards
- Review employer-issued OSHA standards that include rules, regulations, and laws that protect construction employees in the workplace
- Receive OSHA copies of tests conducted in the workplace to detect the presence of hazardous materials
- Anonymity in filing a complaint with OSHA against a construction company
- No retaliation or discrimination by an employer because you filed an OSHA complaint
- Review all records that pertain to construction site-related injuries and illnesses
If you request an OSHA inspection, you must request that an authorized co-worker accompany the OSHA compliance officer around the construction site. The authorized co-worker adds legitimacy to the report filed by the OSHA inspector.
An Overview of OSHA Inspections
OSHA responds to complaints submitted by employees. If an OSHA compliance officer decides that a construction site presents an immediate threat to worker health and safety, the compliance office has the legal authority to shut down the construction site until changes are made by the employer to rectify the physical hazards. This is an especially important role for the government in the case of life-threatening construction site conditions, such as the presence of toxic chemicals and fire hazards. The union selects the employee representative that joins OSH and the employer representative on a construction site inspection tour. OSHA officers can inspect part of a construction site or perform a detailed inspection that goes on for more than one working day.
How to Handle a Construction Site Accident
You must file a workplace safety complaint with OSHA right after you are injured or learn about the cause of a workplace-related illness. By receiving prompt medical attention, you start creating the paper trail that proves your workers’ compensation claim. You also have to report your injury or illness to your employer. Acquire the names and contact information of co-workers that either witnessed an accident or can confirm the negligence of a construction company. The more evidence you collect for an OSHA complaint, the better chance you have of receiving just compensation under federal law for lost wages and medical bills.
A licensed employment law attorney can help you navigate the legal maze of construction site health and safety regulations. Contact an experienced employment law attorney today to receive a free initial consultation that includes a review of OSHA-mandated construction site health and safety standards.