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As a construction worker, am I at risk for an injury?

There is no such thing as a completely safe workplace. However, just because your employers cannot ensure a place of work that is 100 percent free from risks, it does not mean that they are off the hook when it comes to safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires South Carolina employers to provide a reasonably safe environment for their workers.

This is especially important on construction sites. As a construction worker, you understand the dangerous nature of your job. Any deviation from safety standards could put you at risk for serious injury.

Your rights as an employee

The Occupational Safety and Health Act established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration back in 1970 to minimize work-related accidents and to push for improved health and safety programs. Part of their efforts includes giving you and other workers access to important information. Under OSHA, you have the right to the following:

  • Review relevant records for employee exposures
  • Review standards, regulations, requirements and rules by which an employer should abide
  • Review tests that looked for workplace hazards
  • Request an OSHA inspection

You may feel unnerved about your last right. After all, filing a complaint and requesting an inspection might seem like a one-way ticket towards retaliation from your employer. Luckily, OSHA also gives you the right to withhold your name from written complaints. If your employer is cutting corners on safety, you should feel free to make a complaint without worrying about your position.

Your employer should keep you safe

Yes, construction work is dangerous. This is why you wear proper gear, such as hard hats and gloves, and use fall protection systems when working at heights. However, safety is not just your job.

Your employer must provide a reasonably safe working environment that is free from known hazards, monitor your use of safety equipment and tools, comply with OSHA standards and give all employees adequate training in a language that they understand.

What if I was still injured?

Even if you and your employer stuck to OSHA's standards as rigidly as possible, accidents still happen. Whether your injury was from a repeated motion, an unavoidable accident or a lapse in safety standards, you can still seek workers' compensation benefits.

The risks associated with construction work are dangerous, and most construction site injuries are severe, and you may be out of work for a significant period as you recover. For many workers in South Carolina, a fully realized recovery is only possible with workers' comp and the essential benefits it provides.

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West Columbia, SC 29169

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