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Workers’ rights protect construction workers from falling hazards

In the U.S., the Occupational and Safety Health Administration has detailed standards designed to protect workers. OSHA is the authority that employers must comply with. 

In 2018, there were over 1,000 deaths in the construction industry. This means that one in every five worker fatalities is that of a construction worker. Often, these injuries involve electrocution, falls, object strikes and caught-between accidents. When looking at the evidence of OSHA violations from 2017 to 2018, one of the most cited violations is fall protection. 

There are rights in place to protect construction workers. 

Workers’ rights 

All workers have a right to safety in the workplace. They should not risk serious harm in their working conditions. Construction companies and employers can mitigate the risk by offering information and training about OSHA standards and workplace hazards. If an employee believes for any reason that he or she is at risk, OSHA has a complaint system available. All workers can file a complaint and will have their identities secret. 

When an employee reports a violation, no employer can retaliate against said employee. All workers have the right to raise safety concerns without fear of retaliation. 

Fall protection 

Fall protection includes guardrails and personal protection equipment that help protect employees and prevent falls. There are very specific guidelines on how to care for and how to install these systems. Managers at a job site must protect the workers and minimize any fall risks to those who work at heights of over six feet. Workers must also have fall protection if they work around dangerous equipment, chemicals or work under six feet. 

In some instances, if there is a situation where standard fall protection is less practical, then the employer may change the plans. He or she must come up with a site-specific fall plan that is still OSHA-compliant. Once in place, all workers must have adequate training in all plans. 

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