construction worker suffered from a fall injury

Are Construction Workers Limited to Workers’ Compensation to Cover Accident Injuries?

Construction workers face greater risks than most when they show up to work. With heavy machinery, hazardous material, working from great heights, and working below objects set at great heights, construction workers can be substantially injured all too easily when on the job. When a construction worker is injured, however, are they restricted to only recovering workers’ compensation benefits? 

While workers’ compensation benefits can provide important financial support to workers injured on the job, the benefits can also be extremely limited, especially in certain situations. Injured workers may be unable to fully cover the cost of medical care and ongoing treatment as well as providing coverage for lost wages. Additionally, workers’ compensation does not provide compensation to cover pain and suffering. This brings us back to the question that can be critical for so many construction workers who have been injured at work, which is whether or not they are limited to workers’ compensation to cover accident injuries sustained on the job.

Are construction workers limited to workers’ compensation to cover accident injuries?

While construction work is full of inherent dangers, construction companies, owners, and other parties have a duty to take reasonable steps in mitigating the risks involved with the work to help keep workers safe. When the parties that owe a duty of care to construction workers violate this duty and the worker is injured as a result, the negligent party may be held liable for the harm caused. This means that, in certain situations, the injured worker may seek compensation beyond that provided by workers’ compensation through pursuing a third-party liability personal injury claim.

While workers’ compensation provides benefits coverage for negligence on the part of an employer or coworker whose negligence leads to injury of a construction site worker, workers’ compensation does not address the negligence of a third party. When a third party’s negligence or wrongdoing leads to an accident resulting in injury to a construction worker, that worker can go outside of the workers’ compensation system to seek compensation via a third-party injury claim. A third party in these types of cases may include:

  • General contractors
  • Subcontractors
  • Construction site owners

It can be difficult to identify who exactly was responsible for causing the injuries sustained by construction site workers. It could be the case that there is more than one responsible party. Identifying who exactly bears some of the liability, however, can be a complex, fact-specific analysis. This analysis, however, is important to go through as it can verify whether an injured person can go outside of the workers’ compensation system and who he or she may pursue compensation for the losses resulting from the injuries sustained in the accident.

Philadelphia Construction Accident Injury Attorneys

Far too often dangerous oversights on construction sites can lead to workers sustaining devastating injuries. If you have been injured on a construction site, talk to the dedicated personal injury attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy. We will pursue all possible avenues of recovery outside of the workers’ compensation system. Not only could your injury claim provide you with the compensation you need to properly recover from the accident, but it could lead to important construction industry changes that promote a safer work environment for other construction site employees. Contact us today.

Cooper Schall & Levy discusses the leading causes of electrocutions on construction accidents.

Leading Causes of Electrocutions on Construction Sites

The construction industry is a dangerous field for employees. There is a reason that when you envision a construction worker, he or she is usually decked out in safety gear, such as the notable yellow hardhat and orange safety vest. Construction sites are littered with hazards. These hazards can lead to serious injuries that may very well prove fatal.

OSHA has determined that there are four main safety hazards on construction sites that lead to the highest number of construction worker fatalities each year. These hazards are referred to as the “Fatal Four.” Electrocutions, along with falls, being struck by objects and getting caught in between hazards, make up the Fatal Four. Electrocution is ranked as the third-highest cause of construction worker fatalities.

What Are the Leading Causes of Electrocutions on Construction Sites?

Simply put, electrocution is death by electric shock. The electrocution victim is exposed to a lethal amount of electrical energy. Once the person is exposed to electrical energy, his or her body acts as a conductor. The electricity flows through the body like it would in power lines. Even if exposure to electrical energy does not prove to be fatal, a person can still suffer devastating injuries. In addition to fatal electrocution, OSHA recognizes that electrical injuries may also include burns, electrical shock, and injuries sustained when a person falls due to an electrical shock. An electrical shock can cause both internal and external damage requiring immediate medical attention.

Potential causes for electrocution and electrical injuries are many on a construction site. There are electrical hazards littered over construction sites. Power tools, heavy machinery, electrical cords, and power lines are all found on construction sites and they all present the threat of electrocution to workers present, especially when the proper safety precautions are not observed. Among those who suffer electrical injuries each year, construction workers account for a substantial portion of this group.

The National Fire Protection Association reported that, based on data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, close to 60% of electrocutions were the result of direct contact with electricity. A construction worker may come into contact with an exposed electrical wire or receive an electric shock by using a defective piece of equipment. Construction workers are also at risk of electrocution because of working in close proximity to power lines, both overhead and underground. The misuse of extension cords is also a prominent risk for electrocution on a construction site.

Without the proper use of safety equipment and everyone on a construction site observing the proper safety protocol when working around electrical sources, construction workers can suffer fatal electrical injuries all too easily. Faulty equipment or unsafe tools can produce lethal electrical consequences. Equipment should be properly maintained and always inspected for any potential defects that may jeopardize the safety of workers. Live wires should always be properly grounded. All areas of the construction site should be properly lit and the construction zone should be visibly marked. These safety measures can save lives.

Construction Site Injury Attorneys

If you or a loved one have been injured on a construction site, you may be able to obtain compensation for that which you have suffered. The dedicated injury attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy help clients obtain full and fair compensation for their injuries. Contact us today.

Cooper, Schall, & Levy discuss how OSHA violations can put construction workers at risk.

OSHA Violations

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there were 4,674 worker fatalities in private industry for the 2017 calendar year. Of the 4,674, 971 were construction workers. That means, in 2017, one in five worker deaths were in the construction industry. Construction work is dangerous. It is even more dangerous when proper safety guidelines are not followed. OSHA has construction industry safety standards in place to try and protect workers in an environment that is dangerous even under the best of circumstances. Unfortunately, these standards are violated all too often and people are put at unneeded risk of injury or death.

What are the Most Common Construction Site OSHA Violations?

While there is a wide range of OSHA violations that occur on construction sites, some occur much more often than others. There is, for instance, the “fatal four” of the construction industry. In 2017, the fatal four were responsible for over half of construction worker deaths. The fatal four refer to the leading causes of death in the construction industry. They are:

  • Falls
  • Struck by object
  • Electrocution
  • Caught in/between

It is no surprise that the fatal four line up with some of the most frequently cited construction cite OSHA violations. For example, fall protection violations are very common. Designed to protect construction workers from fall-related accidents, fall protection standards require employers to have the proper fall protection systems in place when workers are at elevations of six feet or greater. Fall protection includes:

  • Guard rails
  • Portable ladders
  • Scaffolds
  • Safety nets
  • Toeboards
  • Hole covers

With these fall protections in place, workers are at a lower risk of injury when working on ladders or roofs or even steel beams.

While on the topic of violations of the fall protection requirements, scaffolding requirements are often cited OSHA violations. A scaffold may not have been constructed properly resulting in the scaffolding tipping over or collapsing. A scaffold is a very important safety feature that is put in place to protect workers from things like falling or from falling objects. That is why there are OSHA standards in place regarding the building, using, and dismantling of scaffolds. Furthermore, employers are required to properly train all workers who will be using scaffolds.

Hazard communication standards are also commonly violated. On a construction site, there is any number of hazardous substances and materials. Contractors bare the responsibility of ensuring that hazardous materials are not only documented, but the documentation is provided to the entire project team. Proper hazard communication also includes proper labeling as well as employee training regarding the proper handling of the hazardous material. Employers must give all workers a list of all the hazardous materials on the construction site and explain how those substances are dangerous. Additionally, employers need to provide the appropriate protective gear for being around hazardous substances.

There are several different types of protection that the employer must provide to employees. Unfortunately, failure to provide adequate safety and protective gear is common in OSHA violations. Respiratory protection must be provided. Head protection, such as a helmet, must be provided. Additionally, eye and face protection must be provided to employees. This means that workers should have personal protection equipment to help keep their eyes and faces safe while on the job.

Representing Injured Construction Workers

When proper safety precautions are not taken, construction workers can be easily injured, and severely so. At Cooper, Schall, & Levy, we represent those construction workers injured on the job and help them get the compensation they deserve. Contact us today.

DOWNED POWER LINES

Power Lines

Safety in your home or work place is very important, especially when it comes to people who work with dangerous equipment and in hazardous environments. Working in and around power lines requires practicing extreme caution, as they can be dangerous and potentially fatal if not handled correctly.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International has provided a few tips on how to stay safe and avoid injuries around power lines.

Downed Powerlines:

Downed power lines are extremely dangerous and can cause electrocution, fires and other fatal injuries .

Never touch a downed power line or the area near it, in case the surroundings are also energized. All downed power lines have the potential to be live, and a person should move around the area carefully and cautiously.

If another person has been struck by a power line, do not touch them. Call 911 immediately and back away from the victim.A

Power lines are dangerous and can cause injury or death. If you have been injured due to a power line, the Injury Lawyers at CSL, we will work hard to help you achieve the compensation you deserve. For a free initial consultation, contact us today at 215.561.3313 or complete an online form for more information. With offices located in Philadelphia and Drexel Hill , we serve clients across PennsylvaniaNew Jersey and Delaware.