Coughlin & Gerhart LLP

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Improving Construction Site Safety

There are many ways that construction workers and contractors maximize safety and minimize injury on worksites.

Those who work in construction in New York know how dangerous the job can be. High-powered machinery, precarious heights, and heavy objects all pose potential hazards if they are not handled safely. This is why construction workers need to do everything they can to prevent accidents. While every job has its unique specifications, there are some safety tips that can be followed generally.

How workers can protect themselves

Many accidents can be prevented by workers themselves. The following is a list of safer practices that workers should keep in mind:

  • When workers become exhausted, they are more likely to end up getting injured. That is why they should regularly ask for breaks if they are permitted.
  • To prevent heavy machinery and vehicles from accidentally hitting them, workers should wear reflective vests and other clothes that provide high visibility when offered by employers.
  • When working up high, workers should always use available safety devices.
  • Safety glasses and hard hats also provide an additional layer of protection.

Furthermore, workers should review protocols and changes in the worksite by attending the daily safety meetings of the construction manager. This ensures that workers are informed with the same procedural and circumstantial knowledge.

How employers can protect workers

Construction contractors can also prevent worker injury by following official safety requirements, such as those described by the NYS Industrial Code and OSHA. Every contractor needs to submit a job hazard analysis, which involves identifying what kind of equipment workers need to wear, finding out how to control or eliminate potential hazards, reporting any environmental hazards or potential safety risks, and stating the major steps of any job.

A contractor also needs to develop a site safety plan, which involves evaluating potentially dangerous aspects of the site. There are dozens of things that need to be included in the plan. One item concerns procedures for staying safe while working around toxic substances. Another item is the definition of a specific protection system if the site is an excavation project. Additionally, every construction project where workers are at risk of falling needs to have specific protections in place, including safety equipment in good working condition.

Aside from a safety plan, contractors need to be sure to use barricades, safety instruction signs, sidewalk closure, warning or danger signs, and anything else necessary to keep pedestrians and visitors clear of the site. Emergency phone numbers, directions to local hospitals, and the location of all first aid kits should be known. There also needs to be regular safety inspections to correct potential hazards.

If someone has been injured while working on a construction site, he or she may be able to receive financial compensation to help pay medical bills and other expenses. Injured workers should contact a lawyer in the Greater Binghamton area who handles these types of cases.