Many work hazards on a construction site can result in severe injuries or fatalities. Construction activities involving electrical work, exposure to falls, and caught-in or struck-by incidents are the top four causes of fatalities in this industry. In 2012, the Bureau of Labor Studies reported over 4,000 worker fatalities and 19.3% of these were in construction. Also, non-English speaking workers and new-hire employees are at a higher risk due to lack of training (or failure to understand training).
To prevent an increase in worker accidents and fatalities, safety training is a must. It is beneficial not only to employees but to employers and their bottom line. A good workplace safety program starts with people, leaders of the program come from the top of the company and everyone contributes to its success. More importantly, morally, it is the right thing to protect your workers from harm.
Worker rights. Employees have a right to a safe workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) were created to protect workers from being killed or harmed at work. Under the OSH Act, workers have the right to file confidential complaints to have their workplace inspected and participate in the inspection itself. Workers also have the right to receive training and information to prevent hazards and apply them in their workplace.
Employer responsibilities. While workers have the right to a safe workplace, employers have the responsibility to be able to provide one. Employers must be able to provide training in a language that workers understand. Also included in their duties are to keep accurate records of worker injuries and fatalities and to perform tests to determine if the work site is safe.
Cost measures. A safe workplace will reduce workplace construction costs. Insured losses, accident costs as well as penalties can be a heavy price tag to employers. In ensuring that a workplace is safe, an employer is not just lessening expenses but also promoting the health and safety of everyone.
To get safety training, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have outreach training programs for the construction industry. The OSHA 10-Hour Training Program is for workers to recognize, avoid and prevent workplace hazards. In addition, the OSHA 30-Hour Training Program is for supervisors and safety directors to maintain safety at the workplace. Employers and workers need to work together in order to prevent workplace hazards, and ensure safety training for all employees. For more information on OSHA Outreach Training Programs, please visit www.oshacampus.com.