- Construction safety rules and regulations may seem to be second nature to your workers, but it never hurts to have a refresher.
- While falls, electrical issues, and absence of proper protective gear are common safety risks, some hazards run much deeper—including poor leadership.
- Workers have the right to report safety concerns to employers and to file a whistleblower complaint with OSHA.
Anyone who has ever set foot on a job site knows they are full of hazards. Still, it can be easy for those who work on construction sites daily to become desensitized to the risks that are always around them.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as state and local governments set safety requirements to protect workers in various types of workplace environments across many different industries. Employers not abiding by these rules can suffer stiff penalties.
Adhering to these rules may seem like it’s second nature to seasoned construction workers, but it won’t hurt them to get a refresher.
Is your job site safe?
Falls, trench collapses, scaffold collapses, electrical shocks, repetitive motion, and not using proper protective gear or equipment are some of the most common worksite risks and encompass some of the most common safety breaches cited by OSHA.
Are supervisors around to ensure safety protocols are being followed, and that workers are wearing appropriate safety gear?
However, some safety risks run much deeper. Here are some signs that your job site might be unsafe.
1. Lack of leadership and training.
Establishing a culture of safety and reiterating the message of safety each day is essential for a safe work site. This starts with strong leadership.
Are workers being trained properly? Are supervisors around to ensure safety protocols are being followed, and that workers are wearing appropriate safety gear? If not, these could be signs that your site lacks leadership, which can put everyone in danger.
2. Poorly maintained equipment.
How often is maintenance performed on power tools, machinery and other equipment? Are workers wearing the proper safety gear when using it? Are scaffolding or ladders on solid footing?
Not keeping equipment in good working order or not using it correctly can present a number of safety issues, including electrical hazards, falls, crushing or other injuries.
3. Insecure environment.
Construction is a fast-paced, quickly changing the industry, so keeping a watchful eye on the work environment at all times is essential. The job site should be relatively free from debris, adequately lit, and have handrails on stairs or elevated platforms. Floors should be clean, dry, and clear, thus helping to prevent slips.
The job site should be relatively free from debris, adequately lit, and have handrails on stairs or elevated platforms.
Maintaining clean, secure job sites ensures that everyone can perform their jobs safely and efficiently—and helps workers meet project timelines more easily.
The right to report
OSHA outlines the rights of workers to have a safe and healthy work site. Specifically, workers have the right to notify supervisors or employers about hazardous conditions. They can also report workplace injuries or illnesses, refuse to perform tasks that are extremely dangerous, or ask OSHA to inspect a job site.
OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program enforces several laws that protect employees from retaliation for raising or reporting concerns about safety hazards or violations of health and safety regulations. Examples of retaliation are firing, disciplining, intimidation, or other negative repercussions.
Workers also have the right to file a whistleblower complaint with OSHA if they feel they have been the victim of retaliation.
Top-notch job sites put safety first and ensure that safety is always on the minds of workers as they perform each task. It’s a good idea to review safety protocols and expectations with your workers regularly to keep it fresh on everyone’s minds.