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Asserting your rights to safety on a construction site

Working on a construction site in New York means constantly dealing with potential danger. Although New York maintains relatively strict guidelines for construction safety, especially when it comes to scaffolding, construction is a dangerous business.

No matter what position you hold on a construction crew, you deserve to enjoy every reasonable safety precaution. If you work on a construction site or for a company that you believe does not adhere to proper safety guidelines, do not feel afraid or embarrassed to voice your concerns.

If you feel unsafe on the worksite and choose to not bring your concerns to your foreman or manager, or the responsible party in the project, someone else may suffer from an injury even if you do not.

Get familiar with your options

It is possible that you simply don't know exactly what safety standards you can expect on the worksite. A good place to start is the website for the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, or OSHA.

Once you understand what rights you can expect on a worksite, you can consult with your supervisor about any concerns you have.

Hopefully, your supervisor listens to your concerns and takes steps to address them. If he or she does not, however, you should consider speaking with an attorney. An experienced attorney understands how to help you take the next steps in keeping the workplace safe and protecting yourself and others from potential harm.

Filing proper complaints with OSHA

If your supervisor does not address the concerns you expressed, you should follow up your conversation by putting your concerns in writing and submitting them to your supervisor. If this still fails to bring about any changes, your attorney can help you determine your next steps, which will probably involve filing an official complaint with OSHA.

In some cases, workers can refuse to work in unsafe conditions without fearing that they may lose their jobs.

If you choose to file a complaint with OSHA, a representative from the agency follows up with a personal visit to the worksite. During this inspection, your employer, the inspector and a representative for employees walk through the site to identify any hazards and interview workers on the site about conditions. Should the inspector find any violations, he or she informs the employer so that they can remedy the issue.

Keep your career secure

While it is illegal for an employer to fire someone for raising concerns about safety violations, many construction workers face this practice anyway. This is an especially strong fear among immigrants who worry that they may face deportation if they cause a problem for an employer.

You should never allow an employer to mistreat or endanger yourself or other employees. If you do not know fully how to protect your rights and your well-being, an experienced attorney can help you navigate this difficult process and ensure that you remain safe and your career remains secure.

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