Virginia Work Injury Lawyers

Construction Accidents and Lack of Safety Standards

May 27, 2017 — by Andrew Reinhardt
Tags: Construction Accidents Workers Compensation Personal Injury

Construction Accidents and Lack of Safety StandardsThe construction industry can be extremely hazardous. According to a 2015 data analysis from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 924 fatal accidents in the fields of construction and extraction. Most of these deaths were due to the “fatal four:” falls, being struck by objects, electrocutions, and being caught between objects.

Tragically, many fatalities and serious injuries are preventable. However, in some cases, employers and site managers do not implement appropriate safety measures or provide proper equipment. At Reinhardt Harper Davis, PLC, in Richmond, VA, we take on cases involving construction accidents and lack of safety standards. Our lawyers have extensive experience in worker’s compensation, personal injury, and social security. If you or a loved one has been harmed on a construction site, we may be able to help you obtain compensation for your injuries.

Fall Prevention

Because falls are the most common reason for construction accident fatalities, fall prevention is essential. The Occupational Safety Hazard Administration (OSHA) reports that there were 350 fatal falls in 2015. To prevent such deaths, federal regulations mandate that workers have personal fall arrest systems (PFAs). These include properly fitting harnesses tied off to an anchor. PFAs should be checked regularly to make sure they are in working condition. Furthermore, those responsible for a work site should plan every job well in advance. They should look for potential fall hazards, such as skylights and edges. Finally, every employee should receive thorough training before beginning on site.

Confined Spaces

It would seem that confined spaces are less dangerous than heights. While there are fewer fatalities in enclosed areas, individuals in manholes, crawl spaces, and other tight spots face a number of risks. These include electrocution, explosions, asphyxiation, and inhalation of toxic substances. Beyond that, it is often difficult to exit a confined space in the event of an emergency. OSHA has set forth numerous applicable safety measures. Among them:

  • All confined spaces should be carefully evaluated before employees are allowed to enter.
  • Potential dangers should be identified and addressed.
  • Entrances and exits should be clear and accessible.
  • Every confined space should be equipped with continuous forced air ventilation.

Cranes and Derricks

Cranes and derricks bear extremely heavy loads, and a mistake can send tons of building material hurtling to the ground. There are many types of lifting equipment, and they are used in a wide variety of circumstances. Therefore, the rules regulating cranes and derricks are extensive. Chief among them is the requirement that all operators be properly trained and certified. Training in the controlled lowering of a load is especially important. It is also vital to keep the area around a crane or derrick clear. 

Trenching and Excavation

Excavation sites can be among the most dangerous areas of any construction zone. If a trench collapses, workers may be trapped beneath tons of dirt. They could also fall on top of pointed metal objects or other debris. That is why trenches and excavation sites should be properly designed with appropriate sloping and enough support to prevent a cave-in. Shield systems are also imperative.

Electrical Safety

Unsurprisingly, electrical employees on any construction site face a risk of electrocution, but they are often at risk for severe falls, as well. That is why they should have effective fall prevention systems, as well as gloves, helmets, and other eye protection. Additionally, construction accidents can pose a danger for everyone in the vicinity if an incident causes a widespread fire. Therefore, work sites should be free of debris, especially of material that ignites easily. Proper lockout and tagout systems should be implemented for any live circuits. Of course, as in all areas of construction, workers should be given thorough and ongoing training.

Reinhardt Harper Davis, PLC, Can Help

When there is a lack of safety standards on a construction site, there are numerous parties that may be held liable. These individuals include the site owner, site manager, the engineer, a contractor, the architect, and more. As you can see, there is a web of safety standards, so it can be easy for a negligent party to dodge responsibility. At Reinhardt Harper Davis, PLC, we are committed to obtaining the justice you deserve. We will fight for your rights to get you fair compensation. At the same time, we can highlight the importance of construction safety and prevent such injuries from affecting others in the future.

Contact Us Today

If you or a loved one has suffered from a construction site accident due to lack of safety standards, we are ready to help. Contact our office to schedule your free case evaluation.

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