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U.S. construction boom may put individual construction workers at risk

After years of stagnant growth, the U.S. economy is rebounding and both the private and business sectors are responding. A recent press release by McGraw Hill Construction reports that during 2014, construction spending in the U.S. is expected to increase 9 percent. Construction spending within the single family housing sector is expected in increase 26 percent and 17 percent within the commercial building sector.

Increased spending in the construction industry is good for the economy as well as construction companies big and small and individual construction workers. Increased demand for skilled construction workers also, however, could put the safety of individual contruction workers at risk as general contractors and sub-contractors race to compete for and complete jobs on time.

Construction workers face many hazards when attempting to complete assigned work duties. Whether working at a large commercial work site or completing a small project at a private residence, construction workers routinely scale ladders and scaffolding, use and operate equipment and machinery and work in close proximity to power lines and other electrical sources.

Due to the inherent dangers that accompany construction sites and related work duties, injuries suffered by construction workers are among some of the most prevalent and serious of any industry. In an effort to protect construction workers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued numerous "safety standards and regulations" aimed at construction companies, contractors and sub-contractors. 

OSHA guidelines require that employers within the construction industry take steps to identify and mitigate safety and health risks posed to workers. Communication standards related to possible hazards along with specific training is vital to helping empower workers and provide them with the information and skills needed to prevent work accidents and injuries.

Construction workers who have suffered work-related injuries would be wise to discuss their case with an attorney. In many cases, an employer or sub-contractor may be negligent in failing to adequately warn, train or protect workers and legal action may be warranted.

Source: FindLaw.com, "OSHA and Construction Workers' Right to a Safe Workplace," 2014

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