The USA construction industry is a huge contributor to the country’s economy. At present, the industry has more than 10.3 million employees with more than $1.3 trillion worth of structures being created every year. The industry, which accounts for approximately 5% of the U.S. workforce, is also is responsible for as much as 17% of fatalities among the American workforce. For this reason, construction site safety is of the utmost importance. While construction workers need to adhere to safety precautions at all times, their employers also have to safeguard their workers as much as possible. Here are three ways construction entities can promote workplace safety while also avoiding unfortunate legal battles.
Awareness needs to be created
Under the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) law, all employers in the USA are required to conduct their work activities in a way that will ensure the safety, health and welfare of their employees. This is no different on a construction site. Prior to any worker setting foot on a site, any potential hazards have to be detailed. This includes the required use of any dangerous machinery as well as natural hazards, including falling rocks, mudslides, and even frequent electric storms. A worker that is aware of all potential hazards can actively help prevent any accidents from occurring, and any site manager that fails to make construction workers aware of on-site hazards not only fails as a manager, but can be held partially responsible for any accidents and loss of life.
Proper Equipment use is essential
In order to create a culture that focuses on construction site safety, it is imperative to make sure that all workers know how to safely use the equipment on the site. Electronics, conveyors, trucks, aerial lifts and trenchers can all inflict serious injuries if not used properly. Skid loaders are also becoming increasingly popular on construction sites due to their size and affordability. Like all other onsite equipment, these vehicles must be operated with care, as entrapment and run-over accidents are known to occur. Construction workers that are equipped with limited knowledge and improper gear are bound to make potentially-fatal mistakes. These mistakes may not only result in loss of life but also in costly lawsuits and severe financial implications if negligence can be proven. To avoid all the repercussions that can arise from an on-site injury, it is critical that all equipment is well-maintained and suited to the task and that all workers are properly trained in their operation.
Ensure essential documentation is in place
The most efficient way to enforce safety on a construction site is to ensure that all tasks that are going to be performed are adequately documented. Before construction can commence on any site, a lot of legalities need to be finalized. This includes an array of registrations that have to be confirmed and licenses that need to be acquired. While the construction company will need to be in possession of the correct documentation, any worker who performs a dangerous task needs to be suitably-qualified as well. By ensuring that all documentation is in place, the construction firm can protect itself from undesired legal battles and public outcry.
Safety on a construction site is of critical importance. Apart from preserving human life, following strict safety protocols can also prevent costly legal battles and a tarnished reputation.