We all know that construction is a dangerous industry, and construction workers know this better than anyone.
As a professional, you may also know when a construction worksite itself is dangerous, which may lead you to wonder if you still have to work at such a site.
The simple answer is no. You do not have to work at dangerous worksites if they pose a danger of imminent harm. You can refuse to work in such conditions, but there are steps you need to take to protect yourself from harm and your legal rights, even for those classified as independent contractors.
Report the issue
First, you need to tell your supervisor or other team leader. of the imminent threat of harm. This should be done immediately verbally and in writing. Be specific about the hazard, why it is dangerous, and that this danger has stopped work. Ask for an alternative worksite or for the danger to be mitigated.
What if they do not respond?
If your employer does not respond, offer you an alternative worksite or mitigate the dangerous condition, you will need to report the issue to the government. In our state, that is the North Carolina Department of Labor, where you would file a complaint with their Occupational Safety and Health Division. Request an inspection by an OSH compliance officer.
Construction worker rights
In North Carolina, construction workers have rights, but you need to preserve them. You have the right to a safe and healthy worksite. You have the right to receive training on how to prevent and avoid workplace hazards. However, you need to use the provided protective equipment and follow the safety rules.
You also have the right to report all near misses and actually occurring workplace injuries and illnesses. And, your employer cannot retaliate against you because you exercised your rights. You must comply with OSH standards and regulations and cooperate with their investigations and inspection.