Construction Law

Steps to Achieve An Injury-Free Jobsite featured image

Steps to Achieve An Injury-Free Jobsite

Out of the 4,779 private-industry worker fatalities in 2018, 1,008, or 21.1 percent, were in construction — that is to say, one in five worker deaths was construction-related. The leading cause of these worker fatalities can be attributed to what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) refers to as the “Fatal Four”: falls, struck by object, electrocution, and caught-in/between. And while one fatal injury costs an average of $864,000, this doesn’t even begin to account for the money spent on resolving non-fatal injuries and OSHA violations. 

A successful construction business like those aided by a Chicago construction law firm does everything in its power to stay up-to-date on local and federal regulations and maintain effective safety programs, even when business is slow. Why? Because working to eliminate safety hazards can result in not only fewer lost-time injuries and lower costs but a positive company reputation and improved employee morale. A Chicago construction lawyer with Cotney Attorneys & Consultants can help you to avoid these accidents. In this brief article, we’ll review the steps your construction firm should take in pursuit of an injury-free jobsite. 

Related: Essential Elements of a Safe Job Site

Documentation, Documentation, Documentation

Proper documentation is one of the most important steps you can take towards moving from your construction business’s current safety performance to a world-class standard of safety performance. For many years, the construction industry has operated with a reactive rather than a proactive approach when it came to safety performance. Now, more and more companies are deciding to take a step back and examine how they analyze and learn from previous workplace injuries and accident trends before moving forward.

Understanding what went wrong or fell short in the event of an accident is crucial in establishing new safety practices and identifying potential hazards, no matter how small. This way, you know what’s working and what needs to change to address these concerns. A great way to do this is to track progress towards completion of your safety control plan and periodically verify that these controls remain effective. This is especially important when conditions or equipment change on your jobsite. Should a claim be filed against you, one of our Chicago construction lawyers can gather documentation of your project, such as daily logs and field reports, to build your case. 

Related: The Importance of Field Documentation in Construction

Don’t Sleep on Fatigue Risk Management

The industry-wide labor shortage has left many construction companies feeling like they have no choice but to over-schedule workers in order to meet demanding project deadlines. However, the statistics are troubling. Working even 12 hours per day has been associated with a 37 percent increased risk of injury. 

Therefore, a crucial element of creating an injury-free jobsite may mean looking into appropriately staffing your jobsites, limiting extended shifts, and taking labor shortages into account when making project schedules. A Fatigue Risk Management Program could mean arranging schedules to allow for more frequent rest breaks or providing worker education on the hazards of worker fatigue. And while fatigue management isn’t capable of preventing workplace injury on its own, a Chicago contractor attorney will tell you that an alert worker is more likely to remain compliant with other safety protocols. 

Related: What is Fatigue Management?

Safety Culture is Key

Last but certainly not least, you must instill safety as an integral aspect of your company’s culture in order for your safety program to be successful. What we mean by this is that, unless you demonstrate safety as a priority of the company and that you’re committed to the safety of your employees, you’re unlikely to get safety buy-in. Your workers may or may not accept workplace safety regulations and values as worthwhile. 

Our Chicago construction attorneys understand that the solution isn’t always simple. There is no one way to transform the safety culture of your company. However, what we do know is that investment from leadership and employee empowerment are a great place to start. You recognize and reward positive safety practices and your employees lead by example. What you’re left with is a group of workers who not only assume ownership of their own safety but the safety of their peers as well. 

Related: Cultivating a First-Class Safety Culture

Legal Counsel Is an Invaluable Resource

The truth is that anyone involved during any step of a public, private, or federal construction project can benefit from retaining a Chicago construction attorney as they can nullify any legal worries hindering your construction project. This includes defect claims, federal contracts, contract negotiation, OSHA inspections, and more. 

Too often, members of the construction industry associate the services of an attorney with construction disputes, and while we are certainly capable of helping you resolve disputes that would normally cost companies millions of dollars, we can also help you avoid them. For a team that will protect the best interests of your company, partner with Cotney Attorneys & Consultants today. 

If you would like to speak with a Chicago contractor lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.