The construction industry is one of the key pillars in a country. Statistics from the US Department of Labor shows that the construction industry employs about 7.26 million workers. The construction industry is responsible for ensuring that there’s adequate infrastructure to drive the rest of the economy forward. Schools, roads, power lines, water supply, hospitals, etc., are all the result of a strong construction industry. Therefore, this is one sector that everyone depends on.
Every day, construction workers work hard to ensure that the construction industry is successful and achieves its goals. If you’ve ever been to a construction site, then you know that construction workers are continually exposed to danger in their work environment. There has to be constant monitoring, and stringent safety rules to avoid workplace accidents. As such, we should not overlook the rights and responsibilities that construction workers have.
So, what are some of these essential rights and responsibilities? Here are 4 very important ones to keep in mind:
1. Right to Safe Working Conditions
As a construction worker, you are entitled to work in a safe environment. The construction company must make sure that the work site is safe to prevent any accidental injuries or fatalities. Your employer is also responsible for providing you with protective gear such as safety boots, helmets, eye goggles, and earmuffs.
This personal protective equipment should always be in proper working condition and must be replaced promptly when worn out or defective. A construction worker has the right to refuse to work in a site that is unsafe. LevinInjuryFirm.com has details about what to do in case you are injured in an unsafe working environment.
2. Right to Information
Construction workers have a right to be informed about any imminent hazards that exist in the construction site. The employer is legally mandated under OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) Hazard Communication Standards to tell employees about potential dangers on site and the measures that have been taken to mitigate such risks. For example, if there are any dangerous chemicals or equipment on site, the workers must be told in advance how to protect themselves and what to do in case of an accident.
3. Right to Report
A construction worker has a right and responsibility to inform the relevant authorities about an unsafe working environment. Obviously, the first person you should inform is your site supervisor. Your employer should then take the necessary steps to make the work site safer. In case your supervisor or employer refuses to do so, you are entitled to ask OSHA to carry out an inspection of the site. The law protects employees against retaliation from their employer in such cases.
4. Right to Fair Labor Practices
As a construction worker, you have the right to fair labor practices such as being paid a minimum wage and overtime. According to the Fair Labor Standard Act, you are entitled to earn 1 ½ times your regular pay for every hour worked over 40 hours a week. This applies to young workers, old workers, and even immigrants.
As a construction worker, you have certain rights and responsibilities that cannot be denied you. It is important to understand these rights and ensure that they are not violated. If you feel that you have been denied any of the above essential rights, seek legal counsel.