Any job can become dangerous if the company doesn’t maintain facilities and equipment or if the workers don’t have the right training. There are numerous federal and state regulations imposed on industries with a strong association with worker injuries and fatalities. Construction is one of the most dangerous modern professions, resulting in severe injuries and also fatalities. Ensuring that your workplace is safe is sometimes a necessary step for your own protection. When you respect that your employer has violated safety regulations, what steps do you need to take to protect yourself?
Educate yourself about your rights
Did you know that there are laws protecting you, including specific regulations established and enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)? From providing training and fall prevention equipment to shutting down work in certain weather conditions, there are rules and safety guidelines that your employer should follow.
You need to know those guidelines and also your rights if you want to protect yourself on the job. One of your most important rights as a worker is the right to refuse to work when the situation is unsafe or involves something illegal.
Keep your own documentation
If you want to convince your employer or regulatory agencies about how unsafe the job site is, you need documentation. Notes written in a pocket notebook about individual occurrences, including the time, date, location and the people involved can help. So can cellphone pictures and video.
Even company emails or text messages telling you to work without safety equipment could be important documentation. Your documentation can help convince your employer to act or can help you build a case if you have to go to court. Communicate with your co-workers during this stage if possible, as they may be aware of additional violations or other examples and can help you gather compelling evidence. More voices can have a stronger impact than one person speaking up.
Know when you need outside help
If your employer is uncooperative when you bring up your safety concerns or if they retaliate against you for your complaints, you may need to secure professional help to protect yourself and your rights.
When you hire a lawyer, it can let your employer know that you are serious about standing up for your safety rights and compel them to reconsider the matter. If they do not act to protect you and your coworkers, your attorney will be in an excellent position to help you prepare for civil litigation if necessary.
Taking the right steps when you worry that job safety violations will put you at risk will protect you as a construction industry employee who shouldn’t have to accept unnecessary danger just to get a paycheck.