Working in construction can be dangerous. Whether you're working to build a bridge, remodel a home, demolish an old eyesore, pave a road, or give a building a fresh coat of paint, construction workers have to deal with the fact that a potentially deadly hazard waits around every corner.
They come into contact with dangerous materials and situations on a daily basis, as evidenced by the thousands of workers who are injured—and hundreds who are killed—in construction workplace accidents each year.
Falls are the most common construction workplace accidents—364 construction workers died in on-the-job falls in 2015 alone. Accidents in which construction workers are struck by an object, electrocuted, or caught in or between dangerous equipment or a collapsing structure round out what is known as the “Construction Fatal Four.” Illnesses from exposure to things such as silica dust and asbestos are also common construction workplace injuries.
If you were seriously injured in a workplace construction accident, your life may seem upside-down. You may be in severe pain and facing a grueling recovery, not to mention a figurative mountain of unexpected medical debt—all while you're unable to work. We're heard this story countless times from our clients: hard workers who are burdened by medical bills and concerned about how they'll make ends meet. People in this regrettable position often wonder what recourse is available to them.
Fortunately, the law gives people who were injured in negligence-related accidents the ability to file a lawsuit and pursue compensation for damages. When suing over injuries sustained in a workplace accident, construction workers have a powerful weapon in the form of workplace safety regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). If a worker can show that an employer's OSHA violation resulted in his injury, it can help the case.
What Is OSHA?
Created in 1970, OSHA is a special division of the Department of Labor that's tasked with regulating workplace safety. As far as federal agencies go, OSHA is relatively small, boasting just 2,100 inspectors who are responsible for overseeing the safety of approximately 130 million American workers.
OSHA's safety standards for the construction industry regulate nearly every aspect of the workplace experience. The standards are so comprehensive and specific that OSHA divides them into 28 subsections, including:
- General safety and health provisions
- Personal protective and life-saving equipment
- Fall protection
- Fire prevention and protection
- Commercial driving operations
Violating OSHA's safety standards can have serious consequences. Businesses not only face disciplinary action in the form of hefty fines, but also the possibility of personal injury lawsuits from workers injured as a result of OSHA violations.
OSHA enforces its safety standards by conducting surprise inspections, sometimes at the request of concerned workers. In 2016, the most frequently violated OSHA standards pertained to:
- Fall protection
- Hazard communication standards
- Scaffolding requirements
- Respiratory protection
- Control of hazardous energy
- Powered industrial trucks
- Machinery and machine guarding
- Electrical wiring methods
- Electrical systems design
How OSHA Standards Help Construction Accident Cases
Coming from a federal regulatory agency, OSHA's safety standards are legally binding, which means construction site accident victims can use violations of these standards to strengthen their personal injury claim or lawsuit. In fact, records of OSHA violations can go a long way in helping injured construction workers prove that negligence occurred on the job site.
Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney
If you were injured in a construction accident, you have legal options. Let the skilled personal injury attorneys with McGartland Law help you pursue the justice and compensation you deserve after a serious injury. Contact McGartland Law today to schedule an appointment for a no-cost, no-obligation analysis of your case.