Employers nationwide, including North Carolina, must comply with the safety standards prescribed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Sadly, many employers choose to focus on the bottom line instead of employee safety. OSHA prescribes safety regulations for general industry, with which all employers must comply, and also industry-specific standards, such as those that apply to the construction industry.
If you are a construction worker, you will benefit from learning the safety standards mandated for your industry. With that knowledge, you can advocate for your own safety by reporting safety violations to OSHA. There will always be risks on construction sites, but it is when workers suffer preventable injuries that they might want to report dangerous conditions to authorities.
OSHA standards for the construction industry
Your employer must comply with the following standards to protect you and your co-workers from occupational injuries or illness:
- There must be access to first aid and medical care for all workers.
- Your employer must provide the necessary general safety training, along with training in the safe operation of equipment. Your employer must also inform you of the potential hazards of your job.
- Employers must have documentation to show that installation, testing and inspection of boilers and pressure vessels are up to standard.
- Your employer must provide the necessary personal protective for all dangerous conditions and monitor the proper use of it.
- PPE must include fall arrest harnesses and additional fall protection, such as safety nets and guardrails for workers on elevated platforms of which the height exceeds six feet.
- Passageways, stairs and work areas must be clear of protruding nails, scrap lumber and potentially harmful debris.
- All electrical equipment on the job site must be safe, and your employer must address any recognized electrical hazards.
- Walking and working areas must have adequate lighting — artificial or natural illumination.
- Any construction-related worksite must have affective fire protection along with a prevention program.
- Employers must ensure that engineering and administrative measures are in place to protect workers from excessive noise hazards and provide PPE to further protect the hearing of you and your co-workers.
Although arming yourself with knowledge of the mandated safety standards might help you to avoid construction site injuries, accidents will likely continue to be a threat. This is where the North Carolina workers’ compensation insurance program comes in. It is a no-fault program that pays benefits regardless of who was at fault.
Dealing with the benefits claims process might be complicated in a time when you would want to focus on recovery instead. However, you are free to seek the support and guidance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to navigate the benefits claim on your behalf.