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Employers take responsibility to keep construction workers safe

Construction is big business in California, especially the burgeoning areas in the southern part of the state, where it seems every block has a new building going up every year. From single-level homes to entire planned communities, construction workers and contractors are always hard at work preparing homes and workplaces for more Californians.

New work can come with its share of risks. A project's impact on the environment and traffic must be studied, and workers need to be protected on the job. The United States and California both maintain an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as part of the government's program to define safety regulations for worksites of all types.

These organizations put the burden of responsibility for workplace safety and accident prevention on the workers' employer  at a construction site. The law requires regular inspections of worksites and the correction of any conditions that may cause an injury or lost-time from-work accident.

Any employees or contractors operating heavy machinery, such as forklifts and bailers, must be properly trained and certified with the device or transport. The employer and site supervisor may be responsible for damage, injury or death caused by unqualified operators.

Workers must also be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks, safety goggles, knee pads and other items that protect the human body on the job. These materials must be certified and in proper order at all times.

Workers injured on construction sites may have a case in civil court for negligence and related charges. An attorney may help advise victims and their families if the need to sue for damages arises.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "General safety and health provisions.," accessed May 23, 2018

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