It’s no secret that construction work is fraught with danger. Many construction laborers work on skeletal buildings at towering heights. Some handle or are exposed to dangerous chemicals or substances. Others operate powerful, complicated machinery that can often cause injury. And anyone at ground level of a construction site carries a significant risk of being injured or killed by an object falling from above.
In light of these dangers, it’s not entirely astonishing that the construction industry has one of the highest industry fatality rates, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics. Of the more than 4,600 U.S. workplace fatalities in 2011, 721 (16%) were in the construction industry.
What is astonishing, however, is that despite the perilous nature of the job, some construction site operators still fail to provide adequate safety protection to their workers. Such actions not only go against common sense – they go against the law.
Like most employers, construction site operators have a responsibility to provide for the health and safety of their workers. If they fail to do so and a worker is injured as a result, they should be held liable for those injuries.
Types of safety protections
Workers are generally entitled to personal protective equipment that will shield them from specific hazardous conditions they’re likely to encounter on the job like a serious fall or falling objects. Any protective equipment provided to a worker must be properly manufactured, in good condition, and designed to guard against the exact dangers it will be used for. Personal protective equipment may include:
- • hard hats, with or without face shields
- • protective goggles or masks
- • dust masks and respiratory devices
- • safety ear muffs or ear plugs
- • harnesses, safety belts, lanyards, safety nets
- • high visibility clothing
- • steel-toed boots
In addition to personal protection equipment, workers may expect equipment used on the site to function properly. This includes cranes, ladders, scaffolding, elevators, forklifts, safety valves, and a variety of other machinery and tools.
What to do if your worksite fails to provide safety protections
If you have concerns about the safety protections available at your worksite in California, you can file a complaint at your local district office of the Division of Occupational Safety and Health. Your name will not be disclosed to your employer without your consent.
If you have have been injured due to your employer’s failure to provide safety protections, consult an experienced construction accident lawyer.
The California construction accident lawyers at the Appel Law Firm LLP are committed to helping victims who have been injured by their employer’s failure to provide safety protection at construction sites and in the workplace across California.