In large cities, such as New York City, it’s hard to avoid and ignore ongoing construction projects. With crowded streets, sidewalks and tall buildings in close proximity of one another, business owners may find a construction project right outside their doors. As a business owner, there are many things to consider, such as the safety of you and your patrons, as well as the potential risk of a construction accident, when encountering a construction project right outside of your business.
Work Zone Safety for Construction Workers
Construction workers encounter safety hazards on the job daily. According to the New York City Department of Buildings, 157 construction accidents were reported in all five boroughs during 2010, 4 of the accidents were reported as fatal and related to falls from scaffolding. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), advocates for work zone safety and advises against working with and on improper scaffolding. In order to avoid work-related falls and injuries, construction workers should only work on scaffolding that has been built according to manufacturer’s instructions and all open ended scaffolding, at 10 feet or above, should have properly installed guard rails. While construction workers and contractors should adhere to OSHA’s standards for their own safety, it is also important to be aware of potential dangers for business owners, patrons, and pedestrians close to the construction site.
Construction Safety in the Business Sector
Construction is important and necessary, as is keeping a safe flow of pedestrian, motorist, and nearby business traffic. Construction companies and workers are responsible for the safety of others, who are not directly related to the construction job. Some responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- All equipment should be inspected and in working order
- Construction should not interfere with fire code
- Required signs must be in place 24 hours prior to commencement of any construction or demolition activity and remain visible at the site until all work is completed
- Permits with all the required contact information should be visible to all
- Adjoining buildings (such as businesses) should be given written and reasonable notice of construction, including notice of water and electricity “shut offs”
- Adjoining buildings should be protected from falling debris and general construction and/or damage
- Specific scaffolding design for specific projects, with barriers to protect surrounding business and sidewalk pedestrians, should be in working order
- Keep the public informed!
- Always make proper accommodations for businesses when possible
If you are a business owner having construction done on your own property, it is important to be aware of safety regulations and construction laws and codes within your city. Make sure that you have hired a contractor who adheres and enforces safety regulations. It is also important the construction does not endanger the safety of your patrons or yourself. If you notice that safety regulations are being violated by construction workers, contact authorities as soon as possible.
Construction Sites: Protect Yourself and Your Patrons
Construction can be a hassle, inconvenient and most importantly dangerous. Owning a business in a big city can offer many challenges, especially when a construction site is right outside your door. Protect yourself and your patrons by paying attention to signs and construction equipment. Construction can be unsafe; don’t put your business at risk!