Injuries suffered as a result of workplace accidents are certainly nothing new, but the result of these accidents are growing to be more and more deadly. According to reports, increasing numbers of individuals are ultimately losing their lives in these devastating workplace accidents and this is particularly true in construction occupations.
If you’re a construction worker in the Bay Area, you are undoubtedly aware of the dangers that quickly arise on the job site. Whether you are welding hundreds of feet off the ground, operating heavy equipment or working in any other dangerous situation, you are essentially putting your life on the line every day.
There are almost 6.5 million people working on approximately 252,000 construction sites in the United States on any given day. Not surprisingly, the number of workplace fatalities in the construction industry is higher than the national average within all industries. For example, millions of construction workers find themselves working on scaffolds each day. However, when those scaffolds are not used or erected properly, deadly falls can occur. In fact, scaffold-related accidents cause an estimated 4,500 injuries and 50 fatalities among construction workers every year.
Working on ladders and in stairways are additional sources of workplace injuries and fatalities for construction workers. It is estimated there are 24,882 injuries and up to 36 fatalities each year as a result of falls on stairways and from ladders used by construction workers. Over half of those injuries are usually serious enough to require serious time off the job in order to recover.
OSHA and Construction Workers
One thing that is important for all construction workers to realize is that according to the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), you have a legal right to work in a safe environment. Under OSHA, the government made a solid statement to all employers that it is their responsibility to ensure workers have a safe place to earn a living.
OSHA provides you with a number of specific employee rights. For instance, your employer is legally required to provide you with the proper documents, on site and easily accessible, detailing the list of rules, regulations and other safety standards that are specific to your job. Employers must also give you access to the company’s safety history, possible exposure concerns you should be aware of and other related health risks associated with your workplace.
What Can You Do to Remain Safe on the Job?
While your employer is required to ensure the health and safety of construction workers, you also play a large role in preventing accidents and injuries on a construction site. Some basic tips to promote a safe workplace are:
- Keeping your work area clean and free of debris that may lead to a fall
- Being persistent about maintenance and ensuring all construction equipment is working properly
- Wearing the proper personal protective equipment, including hard hats, gloves, goggles and others
- Reporting any OSHA violations, as employers who ignore the OSHA rules are putting your life in jeopardy
What to do After Suffering a Workplace Injury
If you have been injured while working on a construction site, there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and your legal rights:
- Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries
- Report the accident to your construction site manager
- Write down the names and contact information of any witnesses
- If at all possible, document the scene by taking photographs of the area where you were injured
After these steps, your next move should be to locate an experienced San Francisco workplace injury attorney to help you evaluate your potential claim. Bay Area construction workers understand the occupation is dangerous, requires long hours and puts a rigorous demand on your body. The work is very physical, demanding both endurance and dexterity. Even a minor injury can keep you from working in the construction industry, cutting off the vital income that keeps your family afloat.
If you’ve been injured as a result of a workplace accident, contact the San Francisco law office of Nelson C. Barry today to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation.