Never underestimate the skills and guts of those who work building our towns and roads, moving heavy equipment where it needs to be, and fixing private and public areas that we all use. Construction work is tough. It is tiring. And, it can be risky.
That is precisely why the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) put in place specific safety regulations which employers, general contractors and other construction businesses must adhere to in order to keep construction employees safe.
For instance, OSHA requires the use of safety equipment for certain jobs and projects such as:
•Safety glasses or face shields;
•Correct gloves for the specific job; and,
If, for example, a worker is injured on-the-job and he or she is not using the appropriate safety equipment, the general contractor, or business owner can be subject to a fine of up to thousands of dollars. And, in some cases, the penalty may include time in jail.
What Is OSHA, Exactly?
OSHA is responsible for monitoring and implementing safety regulations, workers’ rights, safety complaints, and labor laws. OSHA requires employers to provide a workplace free from recognizable hazards and to comply with rules and regulations to protect workers.
In addition to requiring safety equipment, OSHA also requires employers to:
•Post visual aids to warn employees of potential hazards;
•Examine worksites for hazards and to fix hazards that exist;
•Provide adequate safety training in a language understood by all workers; and,
•Post the OSHA poster, explaining workers’ rights and work requirements, in a visible and prominent location onsite.
An employer is regarded as negligent if he/she provides construction workers with faulty safety equipment; or worse, no safety equipment at all. Safety equipment is especially important when construction workers are working at high heights. In those dangerous situations, OSHA requires safety harnesses, safety railings, ladders, scaffolds, and safety netting, when applicable. Failure to provide construction workers with this potentially life-saving equipment risks their lives; and no job, no matter how important, is worth that sacrifice.
Your Rights to Recover Damages
If you have been injured due to a lack of safety equipment, the wrong safety equipment, or faulty equipment, you may be able to recover damages based on the negligence of your employer or a third- party. In the case of your employer, Workers’ Compensation covers the financial burden of the injury and is paid through the employer’s insurance company. In the case of third-party neglect, you may have to sue for damages. If your Workers’ Compensation covers your medical bills, you may be responsible to pay back your employer for some of the recovered damages as they supported you in the stead of someone else’s negligence.