Construction is an extremely hazardous industry for its workers. Each year, approximately 1,000 people are killed—and even more are injured—in construction accidents in the United States. In 2016 alone, 991 construction workers died in on-the-job incidents, which accounted for more than 20 percent of all private industry worker fatalities for that calendar year, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).
A division of the U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA is a small federal regulatory agency responsible for ensuring the health and safety of 130 million workers at more than eight million job sites. OSHA regulations require businesses to provide safe workplaces for their employees, and employers in the construction industry are no exception. However, construction company employers aren't the only ones responsible for ensuring the safety of workers on a construction site.
Potentially Responsible Parties
Construction company owners and operators are the primary individuals responsible for protecting employees from on-the-job hazards. However, the presence of multiple contractors from various companies working side by side to complete construction projects often means they share the responsibility of ensuring workplace safety with a number of others.
Not sure whose job it is to make sure it's safe for workers at your construction site? That task usually falls to one or more of the following individuals:
- Construction company owners. Bearing the lion's share of the responsibility for construction site safety, these individuals must implement safety measures and ensure everyone on site complies with OSHA standards.
- General contractors or project managers. As the main contractor in charge of a construction project, general contractors must strive to eliminate or minimize on-the-job hazards to workers.
- Construction foremen. Serving as the main point of contact between management and labor, foremen supervise every aspect of construction projects, working directly with both inside and outside contractors. They're also in charge of safety and security at the job site.
- Subcontractors. Contracted to complete specialized tasks as part of a larger construction project, subcontractors must comply with OHSA regulations and are responsible for safety related to their work.
- Construction site property owners. If the property owner retained significant control of the site during the construction project—rather than turning primary control of the site over to contractors—they could potentially be held responsible for accidents and injuries that occur.
- Architects and engineers. In some cases, even architects and engineers may be responsible for ensuring the safety of workers at a construction site.
Construction Accident Personal Injury Cases
When construction workers are injured in on-the-job accidents, they may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. However, because Texas allows employers to opt out of workers' compensation insurance, benefits may not be available to all injured workers. Even when workers' compensation benefits are available, they may only cover medical expenses and lost wages.
Injured workers who don't have access to workers' compensation benefits—or whose injuries were caused by employer or third-party negligence—may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation for a wider range of damages, including pain and suffering, scarring or disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and additional damages.
Consult an Experienced Construction Accident Attorney
If you were injured in an on-the-job construction accident, you may be eligible for compensation. Understanding who was responsible for maintaining workplace safety at your construction site can help you determine how to proceed, and who to name as the defendant in your potential personal injury lawsuit.
Do you have questions or concerns about taking legal action following an on-the-job construction injury? McGartland Law Firm's award-winning legal team can help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your construction accident case. We're ready to help you fight for the compensation you deserve.