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The Impact of Invisible Disabilities on Project Site Safety Part 1

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The project site is filled with perils that can lead to work-related injuries that sideline employees and disrupt the flow of construction both logistically and financially. While the construction industry is recognized as one of the most dangerous industries, the majority of injuries can be prevented with thorough training and exhaustive oversight. Injuries commonly result from physical threats like loose debris, sharp objects, and heavy machinery, but there are a slew of threats that aren’t readily visible, too.

In this two-part series, the Orlando construction attorneys at Cotney Construction Law will discuss the impact of invisible risks on project site safety. Invisible risks include disabilities that aren’t disclosed and can’t typically be identified before an event has transpired on the project site. Understanding the risk of hazards you can’t see can help you prepare your workforce to contend with these types of risks when they occur. When an invisible risk affects the safety of your project site, it can lead to injured workers, workers’ compensation claims, and even citations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). If one of your workers has been injured on the project site, consult an Orlando construction attorney.

The Americans with Disabilities Act

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), all employers are required to “provide reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with disabilities who are employees or applicants for employment, except when such accommodation would cause an undue hardship.” Reasonable accommodation requires employers to make existing facilities accessible, restructure jobs, facilitate work schedules, acquire and alter equipment, and more. The ADA also stipulates that employers can not discriminate against an employee because they have a disability. That said, an employee doesn’t need to disclose a disability, which is why a large share of invisible risks are associated with disabilities. An employer only needs to provide work-related accommodations if the disability has been disclosed.

Examples of Invisible Disabilities

There are countless invisible disabilities that can affect a worker’s safety on the project site. For example, an employee experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) might suffer from insomnia. This can affect their energy level when working early in the morning. An employee with low energy may not be cognizant of all the hazards of the project site, presenting a risk to his or herself and their fellow employees. Fatigued workers are also more likely to contribute defective work to a project. In other words, what one employee is experiencing internally can materialize before your very eyes in one form or another. Some other examples of invisible disabilities include:

  • Depression
  • Dyslexia
  • Panic Attacks
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Visual Impairment
  • HIV

In part two, our Orlando construction attorneys will continue to discuss the impact of invisible disabilities and provide some insight as to why these conditions are often underreported.

If you would like to speak with an Orlando construction attorney, please contact us today.

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.