It is a poorly kept secret that construction work is the most dangerous job in the country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) bears this out. Its national survey conducted in 2012 revealed that about 150,000 construction workers are injured each year. This accounts for almost 20 percent of all workplace accidents — the largest share of any industry. And in Florida, a 2013 BLS breakdown of workplace fatalities disclosed that our state’s construction industry had the largest number of deaths: 55, which was 14 more than 2012. If you or a loved one have suffered a serious injury while on the job, contact the Montero Law Center to schedule a free consultation with a construction safety violations lawyer in Fort Lauderdale.
What are some common construction site injuries?
Workplace injuries are diverse and occur for many reasons. But the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified four leading types of accidents that injure and kill construction workers:
- Falls: According to the Florida Department of Health, one-third of all construction accidents involve falls from ladders, scaffolds and stairways.
- Object strikes can come cranes, forklifts and backhoes, as well as falling objects and other debris.
- Electrocution: Contact with open circuits and high power lines can kill or seriously injure workers.
- Crush injuries: Workers can suffer serious injuries and deaths from cave-ins, shifting loads of stacked construction materials, and moving heavy equipment and vehicles.
Other serious injuries can occur at an unsafe construction sites due to defective equipment, exposure to toxic substances and explosions. Injuries include concussions, traumatic brain injuries, burns, lacerations, sprains, internal injuries, and eye or respiratory damage. The general public is also in danger from construction accidents. Innocent bystanders may be struck by vehicles entering and exiting the site or tools and other objects falling from roofs or windows of a high-rise building.
Construction Safety: What happens when a worker is injured?
Construction employers are legally obligated to maintain safe work sites. If workers feel any areas are dangerous, they can ask OSHA to inspect their workplace to identify onerous hazards or confirm that the general contractor (and other contractors) adheres to OSHA safety standards — a primary duty of the general contractor. Any construction site employer can be fined for OSHA violations, as well as retaliating against an employee who reports injuries or suspected safety violations to OSHA.
OSHA views all contractors as responsible for implementing safety measures. This includes making certain that their workers are properly trained on equipment (especially dangerous tools or heavy machinery), safety barriers and other accident prevention devices work properly, and that there are clear procedures for addressing, and transparent reporting of, construction site accidents.
Injured Florida construction employees are covered under federal workers’ compensation. All employers are legally mandated to carry this insurance. It pays injured workers after a construction accident, such as all medical bills associated with the injury, a significant portion of lost wages, future medical care, and if necessary, vocational rehabilitation or disability.
Wrongful death is also covered. Workers’ compensation doesn’t pay the full measure of construction accidents, however. But situations exist that allow for full compensation (all lost wages AND pain and suffering, which is not compensated in workers’ comp).
- Third-party lawsuits (an employee of a different contractor or the manufacturer of a defective piece of machinery that malfunctioned and injured you)
- If a contractor or general contractor’s safety violations are willful, it is conceivable that they can be sued for full damages instead of workers’ comp.
So if any safety violation or third party injured you, fair compensation is likely available through an experienced injury lawyer. Montero Law’s seasoned construction accident attorneys offer a free consultation. Contact us at 954-767-6500 or click here to fill out our case evaluation form. Our investigation can determine if there were safety violations that caused the accident and which negligent party is liable for paying your damages.