Godwin Hurley Donoghue, LLP

Construction industry still has large percentage of fatalities

If you live here in Buffalo and work in the construction industry, you probably have more than one story to tell about a close call you or one of your co-workers lived through. Sadly, you may also have stories about co-workers or friends in the industry who suffered serious injuries or died on the job.

Many construction companies know that safety should remain at the forefront of their operations. They use the latest technology and ideas to keep their workers safe, but not every company creates an atmosphere in which you feel like your safety matters. The tone set by a company on a job site affects how you and the other workers view your safety.

Incidents often rise under these conditions

Even though workers can and should take ownership of their own safety, the companies they work for need to set the standard. When a company creates the following atmosphere, accidents and injuries are nearly inevitable:

  • Poor safety standards
  • Lack of communication
  • Outdated or inadequate tools
  • Outdated or inadequate documents
  • High worker turnover
  • Lack of cohesive work environment
  • Dismissive or cavalier management regarding safety

Under these conditions, workers don't feel valued and may even take risks on their own that they otherwise wouldn't. Perhaps you have worked for a company like this before, or do currently. Did you, or do you, feel as though your risk of injury rises with this type of employer?

Incidents often decrease under these conditions

On the contrary, when an employer creates an atmosphere that makes safety a priority, it helps remind you to stay safe and take the necessary precautions to do so. When a company does the following, it helps make that idea a reality:

  • Proper risk assessment for every project
  • Inclusion of up-to-date safety technology
  • Forms and procedures for site safety, safe work plans and site security
  • Compliance with state and federal safety regulations
  • Establishment and maintenance of a culture of safety

When a company takes these steps, it gives you the feeling your life is valued and your safety is a priority. More than likely, you will pay more attention to safety measures and feel free to advocate for your safety if needed.

Even when working for a safety conscious construction company, accidents and injuries can still occur. If it happens to you, you might not return to work for some time while you recover. You will also need medical care that could include doctor visits, surgery, medications and physical therapy, among other things. Fortunately, you may receive workers' compensation benefits to cover these needs and a portion of your income so you can focus on recovering and returning to work.

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