Construction workers bear the brunt of some of the most dangerous, but necessary, work. These men and women do much more than just put up new buildings or roadways — they must also take on the task of demolishing existing structures, many of which are incredibly unsafe and have hidden dangers within their walls.
If you are part of a demolition crew, you probably are well aware of the fact that you will often face an even greater level of danger on the job. In many cases, your safety and well-being could completely rely on your employer’s ability to implement all necessary safety procedures. Unfortunately, some construction companies prioritize their bottom line over worker safety.
What safety precautions should I expect my employer to provider?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration — OSHA — requires that all employers provide a reasonably safe workplace. As demolishing existing structures is notoriously dangerous, OSHA has standards that specifically apply to demolition hazards.
Refusal to adhere to these guidelines creates extremely hazardous working conditions, and crews in Connecticut are usually the ones who pay the price for their employer’s negligence. Workers have been seriously harmed and even died because of employer negligence. Extensive planning is required before any type of demolition project can begin. Demolition crews should expect their employers to handle the following items in order to ensure as safe of a working environment as possible:
- Locate and notify nearby utilities
- Create a fire prevention plan
- Complete a health hazard assessment
- Perform a complete engineering survey
These simple planning measures can bring attention to unsteady structures that could cause a collapse, and they can allow the discovery of hidden toxic materials and other dangerous situations, preventing any construction workers from being placed in harm’s way. However, it is not enough to merely warn workers of possible danger. Employers must also provide necessary safety equipment after informing workers of the situation, which can include:
- Protective gear, especially for the head, hands and feet
- Fall protection, commonly referred to as Personal Fall Arrest Systems
- Protective clothing
Employers are also responsible for training workers on the proper use of all safety gear. It is not worth much to have gear for breathing or hearing protection without knowing how to use it properly.
What if I still get hurt?
Whether an employer shirked legal obligations to provide a safe working environment or followed every standard perfectly, there is a chance that you may still suffer serious injuries on the job. Fortunately, when hurt while carrying out your work duties, workers’ compensation benefits are available regardless of whether or not the incident was a result of employer negligence. Without compensation for medical bills and lost wages, many Connecticut workers might have to risk returning to work before they are physically ready, potentially putting themselves in position to suffer further harm.