As a construction worker, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and the potential dangers that could exist on the job. Unfortunately, unsafe working conditions are all too common in this field, which can lead to serious injuries or even death. However, there are some warning signs you can look out for to make sure you stay safe at work. Keep reading to explore red flags that indicate an unsafe work environment for construction workers.
Inadequate (or No) Training
Construction sites are full of hazardous materials and machinery that require specific training before use. Without proper instruction on how to handle these tools and materials safely, workers may be unknowingly putting themselves in harm’s way.
If you have not received training on how to use certain equipment or chemicals at your workplace, you should speak up and demand that it be provided. It is also the responsibility of the employer to ensure their employees have the knowledge they need to work safely.
Frequent Illnesses Suffered By You Or Your Coworkers
If you or your coworkers seem to be getting sick frequently while at work, it could be a sign of an unhealthy workspace. Common illnesses such as allergies, respiratory issues, skin irritations, headaches, dizziness etc., could all point towards an unsafe environment caused by improper ventilation or exposure to harmful chemicals or other toxins in the air or on surfaces.
If any of these symptoms persist after leaving work, it’s a good idea to see a doctor who can assess whether your workplace may be contributing to your illnesses.
Walking Surfaces Are Slick, Cluttered, or Dirty
A messy workspace with slippery floors and debris scattered around can create a dangerous situation where falls can occur quite easily. Clutter in walkways can also limit visibility when moving around the worksite which increases the risk of collisions between workers and falling objects from above them.
Furthermore, dirtier environments can become breeding grounds for bacteria which could lead to health problems if inhaled or if they come into contact with skin.
Not Enough PPE
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is defined as specialized clothing or equipment worn by an employee for protection against infectious materials. Examples of PPE include hard hats, safety goggles, respirators, protective gloves, safety shoes, and other items meant to protect workers from hazards on the job site.
If a construction worker notices that there is no PPE provided or not enough PPE available on the job site, they should immediately report it to their supervisor or contact a Washington, D.C. construction accident lawyer if needed.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) sets standards designed to keep workers safe on the job site – standards which employers must adhere to in order to maintain a safe work environment for their employees. If a construction worker notices any violations of these standards – for example, scaffolding that does not meet OSHA guidelines – they should report it immediately.
Employees Are Afraid To Report Risks
If a construction worker notices that other employees are afraid to report potential risks on the job site due to fear of retaliation from their employer, then this is another sign of an unsafe work environment. Employers should never retaliate against an employee who reports potential risks; instead, they should be praised for taking action to help make sure everyone remains safe at work.
You’re Not Performing Near-Miss and Incident Investigations
Near-misses are accidents that could have happened but didn’t due to luck or preventive measures taken beforehand. Near-misses provide important clues about potential hazards and can be used by employers as an opportunity to learn how to prevent future accidents from happening on the job site.
Employers should investigate near-misses promptly and thoroughly in order to reduce future risks and maintain a safe work environment for all employees involved. The same goes for incident investigations; if an accident does occur, employers should investigate it promptly to determine why it happened and how similar incidents can be avoided in the future.
If your employer isn’t doing this, it’s a red flag.
How to Respond When Your Construction Workplace is Unsafe
Construction work is a dangerous job, and it’s important for employers to keep their workers safe. Unfortunately, some employers fail to do this and put their employees at risk of getting hurt. If you find yourself in an unsafe construction workplace, there are certain steps you should take to protect your rights and ensure your safety.
Document The Issues
If you’re working in an unsafe environment, the first thing you should do is document what’s going on. Take pictures or videos of any unsafe conditions that may be present, like unsecured scaffolding or hazardous chemicals. Make sure to date each photo or video so that they can be used as evidence later if needed.
Report Your Concerns
Once you have identified any potential concerns regarding safety, it’s important to report them as soon as possible. Most construction companies have a reporting system in place so that employees can voice their concerns without fear of retribution.
It’s important to note that any reports made about safety must be taken seriously by employers and be acted upon promptly, otherwise they may face fines or even jail time if serious violations occur or an accident occurs as a result of negligence.
Obtain Legal Help
If after reporting your concerns nothing changes or if there has already been an accident at work resulting in injury or death, then it may be necessary to get legal help. A lawyer experienced Washington, D.C. workers’ compensation lawyer can help protect your rights as a worker and ensure that those responsible for maintaining safe conditions on the job site are held accountable for their actions. A lawyer will be able to assist with filing claims for compensation if necessary.
If you need help with an unsafe workplace, contact our Washington D.C. work injury attorney today to schedule a free consultation.