More than 3 million workers were injured on the job in 2013, according to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. In that same year 4,585 workers died from injuries, accidents and illnesses related to their jobs. With numbers like these, can you afford to slack off on your safety practices? Sometimes safety hazards are clear – spills, broken equipment and poor planning are often avoidable risks. However, some hazards are more challenging to spot.
It’s unfortunate, but a great deal of social stigma goes along with having a disability. Your workers, both permanent and temporary employees, won’t want to be treated differently because they may be different than the others. They may think it’s no big deal, but that is no excuse for lax safety protocols. An employee who has difficulty reading may not be able to follow instructions properly. Likewise, one who hides a physical handicap may put themselves, and others, in dangerous situations. There are serious safety risks that go along with hiding a disability.
If an employee’s memory starts to fade, they may be in denial that something serious could be the cause. Many older workers are especially hesitant to admit they may not be as sharp as they used to be. In addition, any worker who may have hit their head or experienced a nasty fall could have residual side effects. To prevent accidents from issues of denial, you can create an open environment where your employees are comfortable talking to you about these situations.
Confidentiality laws prevent employers from sharing an employee’s disability with his their co-workers. Any accommodations that workers receive are also not open for discussion. Without knowing the full story, your construction crew may think that the employee is getting special treatment. This can brew up feelings of discontent and jealousy, negatively impacting the work environment. As the supervisor, you must watch closely and make sure these situations are quickly and appropriately addressed.
Workers with a disability are responsible for proving this to their employer. This is known as the burden of truth. Some employees may not understand that it’s up to them to bring the evidence forth, while others might feel insecure about revealing their condition. It’s important to emphasize that disclosing a disability is completely confidential. It occurs behind closed doors between the employee and employer, with no one else involved.
It takes planning and dedication to identify the challenges and create awareness of hazards on a site. However, the best way to keep your workers safe and secure is to empower them to take safety into their own hands. If you’re looking to hire temporary, temp-to-hire or direct placement employees who have experience working in safe environments, consider partnering with TKO Construction Services. We can bring the best, safest candidates to your team.