The Barnes Firm

Construction Zones Need to Practice Safety

LOS ANGELES – You’ve heard the phrase before: “safety first!” Many construction companies say safety is their number-one priority but every year more than 4,000 construction workers are killed on the job and thousands more are hurt in a construction accident.

Construction companies are required by law to inform workers of all health and safety issues but one recent study says those same companies could be doing a better job of making sure workers ‘get it.’

A Los Angeles construction accident lawyer at The Barnes Firm says many safety lapses occur because workers didn’t understand the guidelines, which are usually handed to them in complicated (and dry) documents and booklets.

“No matter how complex safety guides are, they can’t cover all the possibilities that occur on work sites in Los Angeles,” construction accident attorney John Sheehan said. “There’s a big difference between the way the front offices write safety procedures and the way it’s practiced in the work zone.”

Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia say most workers don’t read all the documents before they clock-in for duty.

Their study, which tested several teaching techniques, found visuals like informative videos could improve safety at construction zones across the world. Many organizations currently use visual methods to make sure workers understand safety procedures but the videos weren’t always getting the message through to workers.

The problem? Training videos are usually produced by media companies with little to no experience in construction; and the workers watching the videos weren’t always engaged or paying attention.

Study authors say they fixed this issue by having the construction workers make their own videos. Yes – with basic media training, the self-made safety tutorials allowed both workers and managers to understand and adjust the way daily work is done on a construction site.

Managers and workers were found to better identify safety problems when they were watching their own videos. In several cases, safety procedures and work equipment were redesigned to make the construction zone safer for everyone on site.

The self-made movies could then be shared and viewed by workers from other organizations and they allowed builders and contractors to better explain why certain safety procedures are necessary.

Study authors said the workers described the videos as a powerful way to share “know how” as opposed to “know what.”

Los Angeles construction accident lawyers at The Barnes Firm say recently, one worker was injured in a crane accident and another in a fall on a construction site. Attorneys say these accidents may have been prevented if construction companies spent more time teaching safety instead of simply handing workers written documents.

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