First in a Series on Workplace Safety: Construction Workers
Obviously, not all workplace accidents can be avoided. Different jobs expose employees to the potential for multiple injuries. In this first of a series on workplace safety, we offer some tips to construction workers. We’re hopeful to encourage workers to do their best to lower their chances of getting hurt at work.
One reassurance. Workers’ compensation is true no-fault insurance in New Jersey. There are very few reasons for denial of legitimate claims. An individual whose work accident is accepted as compensable can expect to receive authorized medical care and some reimbursement for lost wages. Some workers will also be eligible for a percentage (up to 100%) of permanent disability. It is wise to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to determine your rights.
The federal government is actively involved in ensuring employee safety. The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers valuable training to employers and safety guidelines. They also conduct inspections and accident investigations. In addition, OSHA also provides important safety tips to many types of workers. Construction workers are no exception.
Safety Tips for New Jersey Construction Workers
Construction workers are a broad term, encompassing a number of different trades. Carpenters, laborers, electricians, plumbers and masons all fall under this broad umbrella. Steel and ironworkers are also considered construction workers, as are roofers and welders. The list goes on.
Despite the expansive nature of the job classification, construction workers have many duties in common. Here are top ten safety tips we think you will find helpful:
- Wear appropriate safety gear. This may include hardhats, goggles and steep tipped shoes. Use tight fitting safety gloves. Employ supportive back gear where appropriate. Protective earplugs or ear muffs should be worn whenever the work area is exceedingly noisy.
- Check work equipment: Before you start using tools, make sure that they are in good order. Make sure there are no exposed wires and leaky hoses. Check for obvious manufacturing defects.
- Be serious: Unfortunately, horseplay can lead to traumatic injuries. Don’t engage in it under any circumstances.
- Do your own site inspection: Make sure all scaffolding is secure. Look for all potential hazards and report them to the job foreman.
- Exercise caution operating heavy machinery: Crane operators and other heavy equipment operators should be aware of all hazards. These include the ones in front and back of the machine, as well as risks from above.
- Refrain from drinking or using drugs: You may think that just one beer or painkiller might not impact your work or safety. Sadly, it may be all it takes to expose you to harm.
- Practice proper lifting techniques: Construction work involves a great deal of lifting. Wear something for back support. Lift from the knees and engage the assistance of a coworker when lifting something heavy.
- Watch out for electrical hazards: Know when it is appropriate to shut off power. Do not take unnecessary risks.
- Be wary of unsteady floors or open trenches: Avoid the potential to fall through or into unsafe areas.
- Review the overall situation with your safety in mind: Don’t rely on your employer to provide you with a safe work environment. Employers are not necessarily careless, but work hazards are a reality. Protect yourself.
At the Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafaljo, we have many years of experience representing injured construction workers. If you have been hurt on the job, we would like to help you. Please contact us for a complimentary appointment.