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Why Is Substance Abuse Plaguing the Construction Industry?

Construction is one of the most physically demanding industries that a person can work in. The long hours and back-breaking work can easily lead to injuries in the workplace. However, there is another serious concern that is afflicting the construction industry.

The U.S. is currently in the midst of a drug epidemic with an estimated 72,000 deaths related to overdose in 2017. Many of these deaths are occuring on construction sites. But why is the construction industry in particular being affected? Here, a Florida OSHA lawyer will discuss the reasons that the construction industry is being plagued by substance abuse.

Flying Under the Radar

Many employers are simply turning the other way when they notice activity that may hint at drug abuse on the jobsite. Functional workers under the influence can be so productive that employers would rather ignore a risky situation than fire them and find a replacement.

Drug testing isn’t even performed by a large number of construction firms. And due to the steady flow of workers coming and going on a jobsite, many employers don’t bother to verify that their workers are sober on the job. Looking the other way could result in an accident on the jobsite that provokes an OSHA inspection. If such an injury has occured on your watch, please contact a Florida OSHA lawyer today.

A Tough Job

As mentioned, construction work is one of the most painful jobs an employee can perform. Work of this nature often involves heavy lifting, frequent bending and standing, and the use of potentially toxic materials. On-the-job injuries can happen even with sober, sharp workers. For these reasons, heavy-duty medications, like highly addictive opioids, are prescribed to combat pain following an injury. And when a worker in pain runs out of prescription opioids, they often turn to illegal substances like heroin or crystal meth to self-medicate.

It is an employer’s responsibility to ensure that their construction site is a safe and drug free work environment. This can be accomplished by using preventative measures, such as drug testing and offering addiction treatments and health insurance. Again, willfully ignoring drug addicted employees can lead to injury and a subsequent OSHA inspection. If you are in any way concerned that your project site is vulnerable to failing an OSHA inspection, a Florida OSHA defense lawyer can assist you.

If you would like to speak with a Florida OSHA defense lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

OSHA’s Final Rule Regarding Recordkeeping

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that employers maintain records of injuries and incidents. Previously, it was required that employers submit an assortment of forms yearly, in order for OSHA to collect data on injuries and flag potentially dangerous workplaces. However, there have been recent changes to these rules that take some of the pressure off of employers. Here, Texas OSHA attorneys will describe why these changes were implemented and what that means for employers.

The Final Rule

OSHA has recently revised its ruling that workplaces of more than 250 workers must electronically file OSHA Forms 300 and 301. These forms are logs of work-related injuries, illnesses, and incidents. However, this change does not free employers from the responsibility of tracking and maintaining a safe work environment.

What Brought About this Revision?

This “Final Rule” was put in place because there was a concern that the private data organizations were collecting could be released publicly. There was also the concern that drug testing and incentive programs could take a hit from the required data submissions. Although OSHA emphasized the security of data and denied that drug testing and incentive programs would be affected, these were concerns that played into the passing of the Final Rule.

What Does This Mean for Employers?

Organizations with over 250 workers will still need to maintain records of injury and illness for OSHA. In the event of an OSHA inspection, you must be able to provide these records. These organizations will still need to electronically submit Form 300A yearly. These forms may be submitted through OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application. If you are required to submit electronically, you must now also submit your Employer Identification Number (EIN). The compliance date for required EIN’s is March 2, 2020. This is to enhance data use and ensure that there are no duplicate employers reported.

These new regulations don’t change the necessity of being prepared in the event of an OSHA inspection. We encourage you to contact a Texas OSHA defense attorney to ensure that you are compliant with any and all OSHA regulations.

If you would like to speak with one of our Texas OSHA attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Keeping Temporary Workers Safe

Every worker, no matter their job, is entitled to a safe work environment. Unfortunately, safe working conditions are not always made available for temporary workers. Despite being a growing part of the American workforce, temporary workers are offered fewer health benefits than their permanent colleagues and are at a greater risk of being injured on the job.

Many of these temp workers are employed in blue-collar positions in the construction industry. Work for them is no less dangerous than it is for anyone else and there are several procedures that should be followed to keep them safe. In this article, an OSHA defense lawyer will discuss these procedures further.

Safety Is a Joint Effort

Under the law, the role that a staffing agency and employer play in the safety of their workers varies. However, it is the responsibility of both to ensure that temporary workers are kept safe. This includes proper training, recordkeeping, and hazard communication. In the event of a violation, OSHA could hold both parties responsible. Therefore, it is in the best interest of both agency and employer that they maintain communication and each address the hazards that they are most capable of preventing and resolving.

The Role of a Staffing Agency

It is the employment agency’s responsibility to provide general health and safety training. They must also look into any potential hazards that could be encountered in the workplace. If potential hazards are discovered, it is their duty to follow up with the employer to ensure that protection is being offered to their workers.

The Role of an Employer

It is the employer’s duty to provide any specific training needed for a worker to perform their job safely. Most importantly, an employer must treat all workers equally whether they are temporary or permanent.

Ignorance of a hazard does not excuse an employer or agency from fault in the event of an accident on the jobsite. If you are concerned for the safety of your temporary employees, please contact an OSHA defense lawyer to ensure that you are OSHA compliant.

If you would like to speak with one of our OSHA attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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