Worksite safety is one of the biggest concerns that construction companies have. A lot of effort goes into making sure that a construction site meets a minimum set of safety guidelines. This is the basis for OSHA’s guidelines and why they are so strictly enforced. Despite these efforts, it is relatively easy for a construction site to become disorganized and unsafe. In this article, a Raleigh construction lawyer discusses the signs of an unsafe construction site and tips to prevent the causes of common workplace injury claims.
One of the most immediate signs that a worksite is not safe is how disorganized it is. Construction sites have larger vehicles coming and going at all times making deliveries and doing work. Many of the materials used in construction can be highly dangerous if not secured properly and not stored properly. If you arrive on a worksite that appears to be unplanned and seems to have construction materials scattered everywhere, this is a sign that it may not be safe to work there.
Construction sites are highly organized to avoid serious problems as well as delays in work. Construction materials are kept in specific areas away from workers until they are needed. There are pathways set up for vehicles and people to maneuver around the site quickly and safely. Even the positioning of the office where most of the administrative work happens can be carefully chosen to make sure that they can keep an eye on everything happening on the site while being away from danger.
Missing Safety Equipment
Another immediate sign that a worksite is not safe is missing safety equipment. Safety equipment falls into two categories: personal protective equipment (PPE) and operational safety gear. Everyone on the worksite should have PPE related to their specific job. If you notice that many people do not have hardhats, hearing protection, or safety vests, this is a sign that that worksite may not be taking safety as seriously as it needs to.
Numerous OSHA Violations
You do not have to rely on your observations to tell if a worksite is safe or not. OSHA monitors construction sites for compliance with safety regulations. If a worksite has numerous OSHA violations, this could be a sign that it is unsafe to work there.
OSHA does routine inspections on construction sites to make sure that they adhere to the appropriate safety guidelines. While it is not uncommon for a new project to have a few OSHA violations early in the process, this violation should have been handled and should not continue to be an issue. An even bigger red flag is that the job site has open OSHA violations that have not been resolved and are nearing their expiration date. This means that the company has OSHA violations that it is not actively dealing with and that the problems that caused those violations are still unsafe.
Loud Noises and Dirty Air
Safety issues can come in the form of air pollution and noise pollution as well. Construction sites often deal with materials that create loose particles, like dirt and demolished cement, which can cause respiratory problems if you breathe it in. If a construction site generates a lot of air pollution without protective equipment or a way of dealing with that pollution, workers may experience respiratory problems.
The same can be said for noise pollution, which is generated from the sounds allowed by construction equipment. The sound levels can reach well above 95 dB on a construction site, which is enough to damage your hearing permanently in a short amount of time. As a result, construction sites where the noise will be a problem generally have workers use hearing protection. It is not uncommon in the construction industry for workers who routinely failed to use it. Loud equipment can cause serious hearing loss at an early age.
The amount of training committed to keeping construction workers safe on worksites is extensive. Even organizations like OSHA provide training resources to help your construction workers get in the right mindset to manage their own safety and the safety of others. That is why the lack of training in the staff on a construction project is a red flag and it may not be safe to work there. As much of the company Implements safety measures and makes sure that people comply, it is down to the individual staff members to be their own best advocate for safety. If they are unaware of the rules and regulations on how to remain safe on a construction site, the chances are much higher that someone will be seriously injured.
No Safety Officer
Perhaps the biggest indicator that a worksite will not be safe is the lack of any kind of safety officer on site. Construction companies generally have someone in charge of safety on site at all times to address safety issues and make sure that the worksite stays in compliance. If the company does not have somebody in that position working on that site, there is a high chance of there will be numerous safety violations or someone will be seriously injured.
Worksite safety is a major concern in the construction industry. Be the best advocate for yourself and for anyone else in the construction industry by looking out for in speaking out about safety violations. Doing so may be the difference between being safe and dealing with a serious injury for yourself or someone else. If you have questions about worksite safety on construction sites, contact a Raleigh construction attorney from Cotney Construction Law.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.