One of the most common places where injuries happen is at construction sites. Some of the injuries happen to those who actually work for the construction company. Others are suffered by independent contractors working on the project. Even completely unconnected people who pass by the construction area, or those who live or work in the area may be injured due to a failure by the construction company, the owner of the building, and sometimes even the city to take proper precautions to keep the site safe.
The construction industry keeps OSHA busier than others across private industry. In 2013, 4101 private industry workers were killed on the job, 828 of those workers were contractors, 20% of those worked construction. Those who are most likely to get injured or killed on a construction site are the people who work there. The majority of construction workers that are killed on the job suffer one of four types of accidents, causes OSHA refers to as the “fatal four.”
In OSHA’s 2014 Fiscal Year (10/01/2013-9/30/2014) the top citations issued were either in the construction industry, or a generalized industry where construction may be involved. The top ten include
- Fall protection (construction)
- Hazard communication standard (general)
- Scaffolding (construction)
- Respiratory (general)
- Powered industrial trucks, Forklifts (general)
- Control of hazardous energy (general)
- Ladders (construction)
- Electrical & wiring (general)
- Machinery/ machine guarding (general)
- Electrical systems design (general)
Third Party Liability
Besides the hard work put forth by OSHA inspectors, the fact that there are several laws on both the state and federal level that encourage safety in the workplace is probably a big contributor as to why there has be such a significant drop in both injuries and fatalities. Depending on the situation, the worker will have the right to seek compensation either through
An attorney can help in any of these situations. When the injury results in death, their family should talk to a lawyer about pursuing a wrongful death case, rather than simply accepting a settlement from an insurance company or an employer.
If the injured person was not employed on the site, they may be able to file a third party liability claim. One possible example might involve a person walking down a sidewalk that has not been barricaded only to be hit by falling window glass from several stories above them. That passerby, presumably, has no connection to the construction company, the owner of the building, or the manufacturer(s) of the materials used in construction. In some cases, an injured construction worker may pursue a third party liability injury claim but in order to do so they should have a way of disconnecting at least part of the responsibility for the injury away from their employer and onto someone else such as a materials manufacturer or the business or person who owns the structure that is being built. A successful third party liability claim will prove that the person liable had a duty to contribute to the safety of the worker and either their actions, or failure to act, played a role in causing the injury.
Any business or person who is involved in a construction project that has the power to make decisions at the construction site has a responsibility to contribute to the safety of the workers. This responsibility is sometimes referred to as the “duty of care.” Violations of OSHA regulations or any other safety standards set by the industry, is a breach of this duty. Breaches can occur if workers are outright instructed to work in dangerous conditions, or if they are not given enough information about their surroundings in order to keep themselves safe. For example, those responsible should make sure that workers have knowledge of proper lifting procedures, or if excessive noise or debris will make it goggles and/or earplugs necessary.
Some of the most common expenses named in third party injury claims, as well as worker’s compensation claims include
- Medical treatment for the immediate injury
- Physical therapy expenses
- Care taking expenses related to the injury
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Decreased quality of life
Construction areas are dangerous for anyone who is near them, and in many ways those who don’t work on the site are more at risk. After all, the average person doesn’t leave the house with protective gear like a hard hat or goggles on most days.
There are several types of construction accidents that cause injury to persons who are not working in the area as well as those who are. Some of these include
- Vehicle and Equipment Accidents – Large construction vehicles need to be well maintained and carefully driven. When this doesn’t the result can be disastrous.
- Falling Objects – When an object is dropped from several stories up, it doesn’t need to be very big to make an impact and cause injury. Protocol is in place at work sites to set up proper barricades, but sometimes these procedures are compromised. Heavy objects falling from lower heights can result in injuries ranging from broken bones to traumatic brain injuries or spinal injuries that may result in lasting disabilities.
- Chemical Exposure -Harmful chemicals can be part of the package when working construction, but workers should be informed of when they will be used and educated on how to protect themselves. Special care needs to be considered to make sure these substances don’t endanger the health of those who are spending time in the general vicinity of the site. Those exposed can experience long term health problems and a tough road ahead.
If you were injured either at a construction site you worked at, or at one you encountered in some other way, attorney Paul Giannetti Attorney at Law is ready to hear your experience and help you decide on the best course of action. If you need to file a third party liability injury claim in Albany, contact Paul Giannetti Attorney at Law, to set up a consultation.