Chopra & Nocerino, LLP

Improving health and safety in construction

The pressure to meet deadlines and stay within budget causes many construction managers to neglect worker safety. This is part of the reason why the construction fatality rate is so high in New York and across the U.S. In 2016, there were 4,693 fatalities in private industries, and of those, one in five were construction employees.

First of all, OSHA has implemented rules of practice called Safety and Health Regulations for Construction. Managers should not only make sure they are following these standards but also set clear expectations among employees. That way, employees can work together toward a common goal of developing a safety culture.

Personal example speaks volumes. When someone from higher-level management personally delivers safety messages to workers, the latter are more likely to take them to heart. Toolbox talks, or informal discussions before the start of each work day, are an effective way to communicate safety and address workers' concerns.

In addition, managers should take care of the necessary approvals, implement zoning to block off work areas and install all required safety equipment like nets and catch platforms. New technology may help create a safe work environment. Drones, for example, can conduct inspections and safety audits. Then there are the basic solutions like the use of signs, warning labels and site-specific instructions.

There are, unfortunately, many accidents that occur because employers are negligent. In such cases, injured workers may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit with the help of a construction accident lawyer. This can also be the case if the accident occurred due to the negligence of a third party, such as the manufacturer of defective scaffolding.

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