Posted by on Jun 28, 2017 in Construction Accidents | 0 comments

One of the greatest challenges that construction firms need to face today is keeping up with the demands of progress, specifically, how to accomplish so much in shorter time periods. With the designs of buildings becoming bigger, taller and more intricate, requiring workers to render longer work periods, however, often ends in situations that post threats to worker health and safety.

According to the Hach and Rose law firm, construction is a necessary but also inherently dangerous industry that can leave workers exposed to a wide variety of construction site accidents and injuries. Any failure on the part of a general contractor, property owner, or machinery manufacturer to make sure that construction sites and construction equipment are safe may result in a devastating accident that causes innocent workers undue injury. In most states in the U.S., construction workers who suffer an injury on the job may not have any legal options available to them outside of pursuing workers’ compensation benefits. However, the state of New York provides further protection for construction workers through certain New York Labor Law statutes, allowing them to pursue compensation from liable property owners or general contractors.

A regular sight in construction areas are heavy machineries, like cranes, concrete mixers, forklifts, bulldozers, loaders, caterpillars, excavators, crawlers and  road rollers. These machineries, undoubtedly, make construction tasks easier and faster to accomplish; however, due to their huge size, wrong operation or requiring an untrained or careless worker to operate any of these can result to a disabling or even fatal injury.

Milwaukee personal injury attorneys know that injuries from construction sites are usually the most serious injury cases. Every year there are thousands of construction accidents that cause serious injury and death. Legally, construction companies are required to provide safety programs and formally inspect work sites with a safety engineer, but, unfortunately, accidents still occur resulting from the inadequacy of these provisions.

The site owners, architects, insurance companies and manufacturers of equipment can all be held responsible for inadequate safety provisions when a construction site accident occurs. In addition, the general contractor and all subcontractors are also required to provide a reasonably safe site, to warn of hazards, to hire careful employees, to coordinate job safety and to supervise safety compliance.

Due to risks of accidents and injuries that construction workers are exposed to every day, the U.S. Congress passed into law (in 1970) the Occupational Safety and Health Act (or OSH Act). The Act aims to:

  • Ensure all working men and women of safe and healthful working conditions;
  • Assist and encourage the States in their efforts in ensuring safe and healthful working conditions;
  • Provide for information, education, research and training in the area of occupational safety and health; and,
  • Authorize enforcement of the standards developed under the Act. Enforcement of these standards has been delegated by OSH Act to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which was created in 1971.

Despite OSHA’s untiring efforts in enforcing health and safety standards in the workplace, however, the U.S. Department of Labor continues to receive reports of injuries and, sometimes, deaths due to accidents. Based on results from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, for instance, in 2013, fatal work-related accidents totaled to 4,585; in 2014 the number of deaths went up 2%, registering 4,679.

Fatal accidents in construction sites include workers being struck and killed by a forklift or other heavy machineries, being struck by falling objects, electrocution, and falls, which frequently occur while workers are on ladders or scaffoldings.

Work-related accidents resulting to injuries or death entitle workers or their families (in case of worker’s death) to file a claim with their state’s Worker’s Compensation Insurance office. Financial benefits, however, are often too small or delayed, that is if the application for claim is not rejected. Besides these, the Worker’s Comp also restricts injured workers from further pursuing legal action against their employer. Under certain circumstances, however, this Worker’s Comp’s provision may be ruled against by a court, especially in cases where the injury is too severe or is fatal.

 

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