The Importance of Workplace Safety at a Construction Site
Did you know that if you’re a contractor, carpenter or electrician working regularly on a construction site, you face a one-in-10 chance of getting injured on the job over the course of a single year? That statistic was put forward by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA.) If you’ve been hurt while working at a building site in New Jersey, a seasoned construction accident lawyer could help you obtain workers’ compensation, which can cover medical expenses and other bills while you’re unable to work.
Implementing Safety Strategies
Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s why a construction employer should have some strategies in place that will help cut down on the risk of job-related injuries. These strategies should include:
- Creating a safety plan: A site-specific safety plan is an OSHA requirement. Such a plan can go a long way toward protecting workers and visitors to the job site. This plan should outline the hazards that exist on-site as well as the proper steps needed to minimize those hazards.
- Making appropriate safety gear available: When protective gear is required, employers must apprise contractors and subcontractors of this fact as part of the safety plan. Such gear typically includes items like hard hats, goggles, masks, earplugs and safety boots. If workers are required to purchase these items themselves, employers must tell them so.
- Emergency drills: The best way to prepare for worksite emergencies is to practice for them. This takes safety planning out of the realm of the purely theoretical and identifies areas in which being prepared may be beneficial.
The Elements of a Site-Specific Safety Plan
If the construction site you’re working on does not have a safety plan in place, it’s not in compliance with OSHA regulations. Here are some of the issues a safety plan should address:
- Information about the company that’s behind the construction project and the names of key contacts who must be informed if an accident takes place
- Description of the scope of work being performed at the construction site
- Names of the contractors and subcontractors on site and information about their safety training
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) that’s required on-site
- Task-specific hazard analyses
All on-site personnel should be required to sign off on the safety plan. This essentially acknowledges that they have read it and are acquainted with the information it contains.
Task-Specific Hazard Analyses
A task-specific hazard analysis is the most important part of any construction workplace safety plan. A good safety plan will address:
- The environment in which a hazard is most likely to occur
- The workers most likely to be injured by the hazard
- Triggers with the potential to precipitate the hazard
- Consequences should the hazard occur
Drafting a safety plan presents managers and employees with a great opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue. In the best-case scenario, every task should be analyzed for hazards. If a manager has to prioritize, however, the jobs with the highest accident rates should be analyzed first.
Meeting With Employees
Employees are the best resources for breaking tasks down into their component parts. It may be useful to video an employee while he or she is performing a task. This is because some parts of the assigned task may have become so automatic that the employee could forget to describe them. Once the initial data collection is through, the manager charged with putting the safety plan together should meet with all the employees who perform that task to get feedback.
Every single thing that could possibly go wrong must be identified. How likely is it that those things will go wrong? Causative factors must also be pinpointed. How might those causative factors be mitigated? This information must be aggregated in an orderly, logical manner.
Even when strategies are in place that aim to limit workplace injuries, accidents can happen. If you’ve been injured while working on a construction site, a construction accident lawyer can prove to be an invaluable resource. For more information about your rights in this situation, call Vorhees Law Office in Somerville, New Jersey, at (908) 200-2297 for a no-cost initial consultation.