One in five worker deaths in 2013 occurred in the construction industry, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Construction workers are most likely to die from four fatal causes of injury: falls, being hit by objects, being electrocuted, and becoming trapped in or between items. OSHA has many regulations designed to prevent construction-site injury. Unfortunately, OSHA rules are not always followed and accidents still happen.
After a construction accident, it is important to determine who is responsible for injuries that result to workers. Those who are responsible for ensuring safety may sometimes be held legally accountable and required to compensate injured victims or surviving family members of employees killed on-the-job.
Who Must Ensure Construction Site Safety?
Owners and operators of construction companies are generally required to ensure all OSHA safety standards are followed and all construction workplaces are safe from on-the-job hazards. Cal/OSHA publishes details of failed inspections and citations and when standards are violated on construction sites, it is the construction company doing the project that routinely faces OSHA fines and enforcement actions.
Owners of construction companies may sometimes face personal responsibility when things go wrong. Safety News Alert reported on the owner of a roofing company in California who was prosecuted when Cal/OSHA found there were no safety measures in place at the worksite. While OSHA can’t take criminal action against employers, OSHA both fined the company and referred the case to the local District Attorney. The DA prosecuted both the company owner and the foreman who failed to follow basic safety precautions to protect employees.
While owners and companies are responsible for making sure OSHA rules are followed and workplaces are safe, they generally cannot be sued by injured workers for failing at ensuring safety at a construction site. This is because workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy system in California. Employees can’t sue their employers after work injuries but must make claims for workers’ compensation benefits.
When it comes to civil lawsuits, there are others who can sometimes be held responsible for ensuring safety and who can be sued by employees if they fail to do so. Depending upon how construction contracts are written, general contractors, property owners, architects, and project managers could all have a role in ensuring workplace safety and protecting subcontractors and workers. Injured victims who get hurt in construction accidents should speak with a legal professional to determine if any third-party non-employer was potentially responsible for ensuring construction site safety. If so, it may be possible for the injured victim to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation broader than typical workers’ compensation benefits.
Getting Help from a Long Beach Construction Accident Lawyer
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
At the Law Offices of Michael D. Waks, I provide legal representation to many victims of construction site accidents. I can help you to explore all possible options for recovering compensation if you get hurt on a construction site. Call the Law Office of Michael D. Waks at 888-394-1174 or use the convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation to learn more.
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