Job Site Incidents
An on-the-job injury can happen anywhere and in any field. But those who work in construction know day-to-day conditions mean the risks for them are especially high.
Workers employed at building sites – whether a small-scale remodel at a private residence or a sprawling commercial development – encounter high-powered machinery, heavy equipment, movement of massive loads, work from heights, dangerous chemicals and electrical hazards.
Experienced construction injury lawyers at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, are committed to fighting for those who have suffered injury as a result of job site incidents.
The U.S. Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) reports that more than 20 percent of the nearly 4,000 worker fatalities in the private industry in 2013 occurred in the construction industry.
Most of these incidents were attributed to:
- Struck-by objects
- Caught in machines/caught between surfaces
- Electric shock or arc flash/arc blast
Eliminating these job site incidents alone would save an estimated 468 worker’s lives annually, OSHA reports.
Those who employ others have a responsibility to maintain a workplace free of known danger, which includes providing workers with adequate training, as well as the right tools and equipment necessarily to safely do the job.
Depending on the type of construction being conducted, OSHA has numerous guidelines and specific rules for how work must be carried out in order to prevent construction accidents and maintain worker safety. One example is the requirement to wear personal fall arrest harness systems when conducting work at significant heights. Likewise, a worker involved in a task that might cause a foreign object to fly into their faces (eyes in particular) would be required to wear safety glasses. Welders, concrete workers and grinders would be on this list.Most Common Job Site Hazards
Although there will be risks unique to each job site, some of those that crop up the most commonly include:
- Scaffolding. Approximately 2.3 million construction workers are frequently up on scaffolding in a given year. Injuries attributed with scaffolding falls or scaffold collapses number about 4,500. In addition to that, such incidents account for 50 construction-related deaths.
- Trench Collapses. These incidents cause dozens of deaths and hundreds of construction worker injuries every year. Workers should never enter an unprotected trench and should always use a protective system for trenches deeper than a few feet.
- Ladders. Workers suffer an estimated 40 deaths and 25,000 injuries as a result of ladder falls. Of those who were injured, about half were so severe workers needed time off to recover.
- Stairways. Slips, trips and falls on stairways on construction sites are a substantial source of worker injury. That’s why OSHA requires companies to keep stairwells free of debris, material and dangerous objects, immediately correct slippery conditions and make sure the treads cover the whole step.
- Electrical Systems. The risk of electric shock or electrocution can be greatly minimized by using insulation, guarding, grounding, electrical protective devices and just general safe work practices.
- Cranes. There are an estimated 250,000 crane operators in the U.S. If these machines aren’t property inspected or used, they resulting injuries are likely to be very serious. Injuries most often result from a worker being struck by an overhead load or being caught in the swing radius of the crane.
- Forklifts. An estimated 95,000 workers are injured and 100 killed every year while operating forklifts. Most of these are the result of the vehicle tipping over.
- Power Tools. Common on construction sites, workers must be trained to appropriately use and handle power tools. Workers should never carry tools by the cord or yank them from receptacles. Tools should be disconnected whenever they are not in use, and employers should ensure tools are regularly maintained, repaired and replaced.
- Chemicals. Chemicals should be stored safely and securely and be properly labeled. Workers should also be trained about the risks associated with each chemical. Employees in contact with chemicals risk chemical burns, fires, explosions and respiratory problems.
Employees who are hurt in a construction accident may be limited in their recovery against an employer. Workers’ compensation is intended as the exclusive remedy for workers against their employer, even if the company was negligent.
However, our veteran injury lawyers often find in many cases more than one party bears some responsibility for the injury. This might include the developer or owner of the site, engineering or design professionals, contractors, subcontractors or manufacturers or suppliers of equipment.
Usually, the general contractor holds responsibility for overall safety of workers on the job site. However, agreements made with subcontractors may spell out whether subcontractor holds some responsibility for indemnifying the general contractor in the event of a construction accident resulting in injury.
Our legal team will explore the employment status of the person who is injured, as well as the degree of control each entity had over the job site. That will determine whether there are additional named defendants.
Contact Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. There are no fees or costs unless we win. Offices in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples and Port Charlotte.
Call 800-646-1210 for a Free Consultation