Workplace Safety Tips Florida Contractors Need To Know
Florida construction contractors know that the worksite can be a dangerous place, but statistics on work-related fatalities and injuries demonstrate the extent of the problem. According to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), almost 5,500 workers die on-the-job every year, and about 20 percent of them – 1,060 – are employees in the construction industry. In addition, 5 out of the Top 10 most frequent OSHA citations are related to violations of construction standards.
Workplace injuries and occupational diseases are covered by Florida workers’ compensation laws, which require construction companies to carry insurance for employees. Workers seek benefits by filing a claim, so the employer will not be liable under personal injury or negligence laws. However, it is still in a construction company’s best interests to protect workers before accidents happen. A Florida construction lawyer can advise you on resources, but an overview of safety protocols is useful.
Basic Safety Tips to Promote on the Construction Site
When crews are busy and concentrating on work tasks, they may not pay attention to or be aware of the risk of injuries. Stakeholders can protect their employees by issuing reminders and promoting some safety tips for the construction site:
- Wear appropriate clothing, including gloves, boots, and coveralls.
- Make sure to implement Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as hard hats, protective eye gear, safety harnesses, straps, and heat-resistant fabrics.
- Understand proper use of ladders, scaffoldings, and scissor lifts.
- Always follow rules when getting on and off heavy equipment, including use of handrails, foot holds, and toe grabs.
- Clear the workspace of debris, equipment, cords, and other trip hazards.
Construction companies in Florida should also be aware of the unique weather conditions and how they impact the construction site. There are regulations on working in inclement weather such as hurricanes, but it is also important to realize the impact of extreme heat and humidity.
Overview of Florida Workers’ Comp Laws
As mentioned, almost all Florida construction companies are required to carry insurance to cover workplace injuries and occupational diseases. Instead of going after their employer, workers file a claim with the insurer to obtain benefits. An employee does not have to prove that the company was at fault in causing the medical condition, but workers’ comp is the sole remedy. The laws bar filing a lawsuit in court.
In a qualifying claim, an employee may receive benefits for medical costs, wage replacement, temporary or permanent disability, and vocational rehabilitation. Eligible family members can also obtain death benefits after a worker dies on a construction site accident.
Trust a South Florida Construction Law Attorney to Advise You
Workers’ comp laws are just one of the many legal issues that face construction companies, but there are many others that you should entrust to experienced legal counsel. Our team at Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A. specifically focuses on construction law, so please contact us to set up a consultation and learn additional details. You can reach our offices in Jupiter, FL by calling 561-626-8880 or visiting us online.