If you work in a building trade, such as a carpenter, roofer, electrician, landscaper, or construction worker, your career can offer many rewards, and unfortunately many risks as well. It can be a great honor to have a hand in creating or fixing something great–that will offer many people something necessary for them to reside or work for years and years to come. This craft is probably something that you love to do as well; It is certainly pleasing to be proud of your finished product when it is completed. However, if anything were to go wrong in the process, the effects can be disastrous. Injuries on the construction site can affect your future ability to work in your chosen profession as well as your health, and those who financially depend on you.
Construction sites and areas of new or continuing building projects can be hosts to potentially dangerous and hazardous conditions. Workers of several different trades are often present and actively making progress at the same time: carpenters, roofers, electricians, landscapers, and other construction workers. Sometimes visitors are on site as well: administrators, management, building owners, and project beneficiaries. If the site is a renovation project of an existing building, there could be customers, civilians, and pedestrians as well.
With all these people around and project happening, it seems like the construction site can be overwhelming and chaotic. How can a safe work environment be ensured? The truth is, it can never be guaranteed; But there are precautions and things these workers can do to help prevent injury and harm. If everyone takes responsibility for their own personal safety and safety of others, workplace conditions can be greatly improved.
Construction accidents are a harsh reality of this trade and always will be. However, you can take steps and use common sense to protect yourself to the best of your ability. Of course, even with all the precautions in the world, accidents do happen. Read on for advice on how to stay safe and be prepared for an accident if one does come along.
Become Familiar with Co-Workers
Get to know your co-workers on a professional level. It’s a good idea to introduce yourself to any new employees you see on the premises. Even if you won’t be working with them directly, becoming acquainted with each other will help you work together as a team to ensure everyone’s safety. If an accident or issue does come on, it can come in handy to know the names of people around you. Calling out to someone by name will be much more effective than yelling in the general direction.
From a workers’ compensation perspective, every co-worker is also a potential witness. Other workers can provide a key testimony or help fill in the blanks if someone does not exactly remember what happened prior to an injury (because they lost consciousness, it was a chaotic situation, ect.) The names and contact information of those present will be valuable to workers’ compensation lawyers in the event of an injury.
Look to the General Contractor for Guidelines
Each worker should make the safety of all people present on the premises a priority. However, there is usually one person who oversees and enforces safety practices of everyone on site: the general contractor. The general contractor should coordinate rules and regulations for all workers to follow in order to prevent unreasonable risks. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) also sets forth certain laws and codes for minimum safety requirements. If you have any safety questions or are unsure about a situation, look to this person for guidance. Always report any unsafe working conditions you notice to the general contractor or a supervisor immediately.
Don’t Rush Through Tasks
Take the necessary time to look after safety and don’t feel pressured to rush through tasks.
Check to make sure safety mechanisms on tools and machinery are properly installed every time you return to your work station. If anything seems to be functioning improperly, make sure to report it to a supervisor.
Taking these steps will help prevent injuries from mechanical error and carelessness. Although managers may push for projects to be completed in a timely fashion, safety should be the number one priority. An accident and workers’ compensation lawsuit will certainly delay a project longer than the few extra minutes it takes to ensure safety.
Always Use Safety Equipment and Follow Rules
Always use the necessary safety equipment such as goggles, gloves, and helmets. Always follow guidelines set forth by your employer. The use of protective equipment can prevent a minor injury from turning into a more serious one. In addition, in the case that an insurance company challenges a claim, you do not want to give them further cause by failing to use this equipment or following rules.
Note that safety guidelines are in place to protect more than just yourself. If you would consider ignoring a rule because you think it would only put your own person at risk, think again. For example, let’s say a working is using tools on the second floor of a project. They are supposed to secure all tools in the belt every time the tool is not in use. To save the hassle, a worker puts a hammer in his pocket one time. Unfortunately, if that hammer falls out it could seriously injure someone walking below.
Report Accidents and Injuries Immediately
Reporting an injury immediately will help you get the appropriate medical care and allow the general contractor on site to take any necessary action. It is also an important step in the workers’ compensation process. Giving your employer notice of injury is imperative to moving forward with a claim. Note that an injured worker must see the doctor identified by their employer or insurance company in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits down the road.
Consult With a Knowledgeable Attorney
Always consult with a skilled lawyer in the case of a work-related injury. They will work hard to win your the maximum amount of benefits. When you are recovering, your number one priority should be your health. You don’t want to deal with paperwork or tricky insurance companies while you are injured. Leave the hard work to a lawyer who has done this many times before.