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OSHA and construction workers’ rights

For the thousands of construction workers who work at building and demolition sites throughout New York City, a typical day’s work may involve scaling scaffolding, working in an elevator shaft or digging in a trench. While there’s no doubt that workers engaged in these types of activities are at danger of suffering injuries, the fact is that just being present on an active construction site can be dangerous.

From being hit by a falling object or backed over by a construction truck to suffering hearing loss due to exposure to excessive noise; the construction industry is inherently dangerous. Many construction workers likely aren’t familiar with the laws which exist to protect their rights to a safe work environment. Most notably, the Occupational Safety and Health Act which was passed in 1970 with a goal of preventing U.S. workers from “being killed or seriously harmed.”

With the passage of the OSHA Act, the federal workplace safety enforcement agency known as OSHA was formed. Today, OSHA establishes and enforces workplace safety regulations and guidelines to ensure employers are protecting workers from harm and also to ensure workers are provided with training, safety equipment and relevant safety information. Additionally, workers may request that an employer provide specific training and more detailed information about specific hazards. In cases where an employee is concerned about possible OSHA safety violations, he or she can request an OSHA inspection.

With regard to OSHA and the construction industry, the agency has established safety guidelines for numerous related activities including scaffolding, the use of safety equipment, fire prevention and protection, construction vehicle safety, fall protection, excavation projects and exposure to hazardous materials. To ensure for the health and safety of construction workers, it’s crucial that employers remain compliant with regulations in each of these areas.

Construction workers who are concerned about possible safety violations at a construction worksite are encouraged to contact OSHA. Additionally, workers who have suffered injuries due to an employer’s failure to comply with OSHA safety regulations are encouraged to contact an attorney who can provide legal advice and assistance.

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