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Reporting unsafe working conditions: keep the site safe

If you work construction, then you are about as hearty as they come. Across the nation, blue-collar workers are the ones who keep our houses held together, our roadways intact and electricity buzzing. They also have some of the most dangerous working conditions of anyone in the country.

If you ever see unsafe conditions on your work site, it is critically important that you report them to a supervisor immediately. Not informing management that something is off is dangerous, and sometimes fatal. This was the situation in Naples recently when utility contractor Douglas N. Higgins' negligence led to the deaths of four workers across two separate incidents.

Employer negligence in Naples

According to the Insurance Journal, utility contractor Douglass N. Higgins was cited by OSHA in January 2017 when three of their employees were suddenly killed by toxic gases while working in a manhole. After this tragic loss of life, the company was cited again in May of 2018 when a steel plate fell and fatally crushed a fourth employee.

Upon inspection, OSHA found that Higgins employees were working in trenches that had not been fitted with cave-in protections, and the company was neglecting to maintain basic safety and health programs for excavation hazards.

"Despite being recently cited for violations that contributed to four worker fatalities, this employer continues to disregard well-known safety and health requirements." Condell Eastmond, OSHA Fort Lauderdale office director stated in a press release. As a result of their repeated violations, the company has been fined $18,659.

Speak up when you see unsafe conditions

The adage that if you see something you should say something lends itself perfectly to this scenario. OSHA's report suggests that Higgins had a history of negligence regarding safety at its work sites. If just one employee had reported the suspect conditions to a superior, or submitted a tip to OSHA, four hard working employees may still be working.

Not to mention the number of non-fatal accidents that workers may have suffered on the job. If you are injured on the job, be sure to report it to your supervisor right away - don't try to walk it off. Being injured while working, especially if it was due to unsafe conditions, will most likely make you eligible for workers' compensation. Be sure to speak with a personal injury attorney to get your workers' comp claim in motion.

You have rights as an employee, and one of them is the right to safe working conditions. If you see dangers in your workplace, be sure to report them right away. You could be saving someone other than just yourself.

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