Who Is Responsible for Workplace Safety?

photo of justiceOn any construction site, management is responsible for identifying workplace hazards and handling them proactively before workers get hurt. To do their job properly, management has to stay informed about safety policies imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and make sure those policies are enforced in the workplace.

Falls lead to more deaths in the construction industry than any other workplace hazard, and more than 100,000 workers are seriously injured by falls every year. For that reason, OSHA has numerous safety requirements addressing fall safety to help prevent accidents.

Incomplete roofs and open skylights can be hazardous, because equipment can fall through the hole and injure workers below. If workers fall through the opening, they risk being seriously injured, paralyzed or even killed.

Due to the substantial risk, workers must have guardrail protection if they are exposed to a drop of six feet or more. Toeboards can keep loose equipment from falling on workers on lower levels.

OSHA requires a “competent person” to supervise the work site at all times, to make sure workers abide by OSHA regulations. Most often a member of management, a competent person is described as “[some]one who is capable of identifying existing hazards or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees.”

Competent people must also have the authority to take “prompt corrective measures to eliminate [workplace hazards].” Workers have a duty to stay vigilant and call attention to problem areas, but the “competent person” assigned by the company is responsible for the safety of all workers on the site.

US Demco of Brooklyn Inc., a New York contractor, failed to provide fall protection for workers demolishing a three-story residential building. As a result, OSHA proposed $45,200 in fines for eight total violations of workplace safety standards.

The construction company failed to provide guardrails or toeboards for workers on the second and third floor. Without protection, employees working below could suffer lacerations and broken bones.

More importantly, the construction site failed to assign a competent person to oversee the work. Workers are aware of most OSHA regulations, but the ultimate responsibility for workplace safety falls to management.

By providing inadequate safety equipment and failing to supervise the workers, this company recklessly risked the health and wellbeing of their employees. One serious injury may not make that much difference to a company, but the injured worker’s life will change forever.

New Jersey Workers’ Comp Attorneys

At Spevack Law Firm, we work to make sure that every worker is being treated in accordance with the law. If your employer is forcing you to work without proper safety equipment, he is violating your rights. We can help you take control. Call Spevack Law Firm to discuss your workers comp claim today.

[Did You Know: In 2012, one out of every four fatal falls was from a height of 10 feet or less.]

Spevack Law Firm – Middlesex County Personal Injury Lawyers

Source: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=26319

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