Construction accidents are regulated by the OSHA which institutes safety programs on construction sites. Herein, we look at who’s at fault for construction accidents and the steps to take before consulting with an attorney.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created as part of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970. The purpose of OSHA is to oversee and implement health and safety programs and to reduce workplace hazards. In order to accomplish these objectives, OSHA clearly outlines the responsibilities of employers and the rights of employees while on the job. A violation of OSHA standards can result in hefty fines and legal action.
Employees can Complain Anonymously to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
OSHA states that employers must provide a workplace free from recognizable hazards, post in a visible area the rights of all employees under the OSH Act of 1970, and have a written program outlining standard procedures in addition to an employee training program. Employees have a right to a written copy of standards and procedures for the workplace and are entitled to make anonymous complaints to OSHA regarding workplace safety. These complaints may or may not lead to an OSHA investigation. While this investigation is taking place, the employees may choose a representative to walk with the OSHA inspector to take notes.
OSHA and Construction Accidents
OSHA regulations are extremely important for operators of construction companies to be aware of and to follow. Unfortunately, construction accidents are a common occurrence and can be caused by a number of factors including:
- Faulty equipment
- Toxic chemicals
- Falling material
- Repetitive motions such as lifting and bending
If you suspect that you are a victim of a construction accident it is important to consult with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney immediately. Determining who is at fault, and ultimately who will pay for damages, can be a complicated process. There are many persons involved on a construction site and in the design process, and each of these individuals has certain responsibilities for ensuring your safety while on the job.
Are General Contractors or Owners of Land Responsible for Safety of Workers?
When trying to assign blame for a construction site accident the first person your attorney may question is the actual owner of the construction site. It is the responsibility of the person who controls the land to make all persons involved with the project aware of any potentially hazardous conditions at the site. It is important to examine the contract between the person named on the deed to the land and the general contractors. Some contracts give total control of the land to the general contractors, and if this is the case then the contractor would be held responsible for informing employees of hazardous conditions.
General, “sub” and “prime” contractors are another group of individuals who may be held liable for a construction site accident. It is the responsibility of the general contractor to oversee the entire project. The general contractor may hire “sub” and “prime” contractors to complete the project more efficiently, but this person has an obligation to make sure the work is performed safely and employees are aware of any dangerous conditions involved with the particular project. General and “prime” contractors have the additional responsibility of hiring competent workers, and these contractors are held liable for the work of their employees.
Manufacturers of Machine and Architects are Responsible for Construction Accidents
The manufacturers of the machines used in the project, as well as the architects who designed the project may also be held accountable for construction accidents. Both the machinists and architects have standards and codes which they must follow when making machines or drawing up blueprints. If your accident was caused by a faulty machine or if part of the building falls on you because it was not built with proper supports, you may have a case against those responsible.
State Laws Vary Regarding Who is Responsible for Construction Accidents
States may differ in how they handle construction site accidents, and it is extremely important to consult an attorney familiar with state specific legislation. For example, a Florida construction accident attorney will inform you that Florida Law holds the prime contractor solely responsible for construction site safety. Prime contractors should provide employees with appropriate training for using all equipment, and should monitor the exertion levels of employees. Through the use of a competent construction accident attorney you may be ale to receive payments for lost wages, medical expenses, and the cost of future medical treatment made necessary by your injury.
What Steps to Take When Involved in a Construction Site Accident
When you have been injured in a construction site accident there are several steps you can take to help your lawyer strengthen your case. The first step will be to seek medical attention and have a written record with a doctor that there was an accident and also the severity of your injury.
Next, you will want to inform your employer of what took place. Make sure you document when and with whom this conversation takes place. You should also take down the names and numbers of anyone who witnessed the accident since there may be a need for them to testify later. Finally, you will want to have physical evidence of the accident and your injury. This may include taking photographs of yourself, the site where the injury occurred, or hanging onto the tool that caused your injury.
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