Construction sites across California are typical scenes of dynamic and diversified activities. With multiple workers, all with different skills, rushing to get their tasks done, safety risks often go unnoticed. Regardless of whether you work on the renovation of an existing building, new construction or major repairs, you will deal with multiple safety hazards. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health holds your employer responsible for your safety and health.
As a part of your daily shifts on a construction site, you will encounter the hazards related to working at heights and in trenches, and exposed to excessive noise, dust, and the many dangers posed by power tools and heavy equipment. Sadly, many employers prioritize the bottom line instead of employee safety.
Precautions you can take
You might have to rely on your own skills to identify, control and mitigate the hazards in your workplace. Compliance with the following safety standards could be sufficient to keep you out of the hospital:
- Slip-and-fall accidents form a significant percentage of construction site injuries. You can prevent such an accident by maintaining proper housekeeping and keeping your work area free of spills and debris that can cause trips or slips.
- Never lose sight of the hazards posed by equipment and tools. Always inspect them before you use them and take broken or malfunctioning devices out of service for repair or replacement.
- Never neglect to use the seat belt whenever you operate construction vehicles or heavy equipment.
- Be alert when you share your workspace with heavy equipment, and stay out of the blind spots of the operators. Struck-by and crushing injuries often result from workers run over or crushed between a machine and another object or being underneath unsecured lifted loads.
- Never disregard the need for fall protection and other personal protective equipment. Also, avoid becoming complacent — your level of experience will not prevent accidents.
- Beware of hazardous chemicals. Comply with label and storage regulations to prevent not only personal injury caused by the corrosive or toxic qualities of the chemicals but also fire risks.
- If you identify hazards, communicate it to supervisors and co-workers, and if you need to stop work to mitigate danger, then do so. Leaving it for later might be too late.
Your workers’ compensation rights
Although California workers are typically eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, many injured workers find the benefits claims process confusing, overwhelming and even intimidating. If you want to focus on recovering and getting back to work, you might find comfort in knowing that an attorney with experience in dealing with the state-regulated insurance system can help. Legal counsel can take over the navigation of the claims process in pursuit of maximum applicable benefits on your behalf.