Construction workers have dangerous jobs. Often they work on busy roadways, in buildings with unsafe equipment, or at intimidating heights. If you are a construction worker in New York, or any other state, and you are frequently required to climb on scaffolding, who is responsible for your safety? What should you do in the event of an injury or fall on the job site?
The Worker Protection Bureau
The State of New York works hard to protect its workforce. The Worker Protection Bureau is dedicated to keeping employees safe while on the job. For construction employees, the Division of Safety and Health (DOSH) is one of three divisions within the Worker Protection Bureau. DOSH has 10 programs that offer safety and health information, as well as assistance to employers and employees for keeping everyone safe.
These programs include Public Employee and Health Safety, Industry Inspection, License and Certification, Workplace Safety and Loss Prevention, On-Site Consultation and Engineering Services to name a few. All of these programs are geared toward keeping people safe in dangerous workplaces or circumstances in the State of New York.
Who is Responsible for Your Safety at a Construction Site?
With falls from scaffolding topping the list of most common construction site injuries, who is responsible for keeping you safe if you are required to work on scaffolding high above the ground? According to the United States Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), your employer can be issued citations if the construction site violates safety regulations. No matter how it happened, if you do fall off or are injured on scaffolding, you are entitled to know what your rights are. To get objective legal advice, contact a lawyer such as The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. in the New York area.
Protecting workers from scaffold-related accidents would prevent more than 4,000 construction site injuries each year, and upwards of 50 fatalities. Scaffolding must be installed properly, able to carry its own weight, plus four times the maximum intended load, and must be erected on safe, solid footing, notes OSHA regulations. Additionally, qualified individuals must inspect the scaffolding so that it remains safe as long as it is in use.
What Can You Do if You Suspect a Hazard?
If you suspect that the scaffolds or any other area of a construction environment is violating the rules of OSHA or DOSH, you have several options for reporting the problem. You can contact a DOSH or OSHA office for advice on the steps to take to avoid an accident. As mentioned previously, you can also consult with an experienced construction attorney who can recommend your best course of action–especially if you were injured in a fall from the scaffolding in question.
New York, like every other state, has workers’ compensation requirements for employers. If you have suffered an injury at work that has required medical treatment, an absence from your job, and financial hardship, you may be entitled to collecting compensation for your losses and medical bills.
Ultimately, keeping people safe in any profession should be a top priority for employers, companies and individuals, alike. Do your part to keep your workplace safe by knowing the rules and regulations specific to your industry. And, if you suspect unsafe circumstances, know that you have rights and make the decision to report any safety violation to the proper resource. In doing so, you will be protecting others, as well as yourself.
Teresa Stewart writes to encourage workers to learn and practice all industry safety rules and regulations. She found that The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. can provide an attorney who has knowledge and experience with construction site accidents and claims. They help their clients select the best way to proceed and compile a case which will result in receipt of maximum deserved restitution.