The construction industry consists of building contractors, subcontractors, tradespeople, and laborers. The sites where construction takes place involves building equipment.
Sometimes the equipment has a problem with it that makes it dangerous. So it often puts tradespeople and laborers at risk of job-related injuries. But when a worker gets injured at a construction site, the liability may rest with many parties. Examples include the employer, contractor or subcontractor.
But depending on the type of incident, there may be a third party liable for the damages like the people who sold the equipment. So this liability exists because in some cases the equipment or tools used are inferior. Therefore, they have a product defects issue. And in this case, liability may lie with the manufacturer of the equipment.
Construction related mishap Statistics are Sobering.
Stats are sobering. Construction-related accidents can occur on both large and small job sites. For instance, during 2014 the building participation rate remained 8.2%, according to the U.S. Department of Labor statistical data.
In 2012 the turnout was a small percentage higher, and during that time approximately 19.3% of workplace fatalities occurred within the construction industry.
These deaths are:
- Electrocution: Electrocution deaths totaled 8.1% or 66 individual construction workers fatal injuries.
- Struck by Object: Deaths caused by falling objects equated to 79 fatalities or 9.8%.
- Falls: Falls contributed to the highest number of fatalities in the construction industry. There were 279 deaths or 34.6%.
- Trapped: Construction workers deaths from being caught or trapped equaled 13 deaths or 1.6%.
Standard Construction Mishaps.
In the construction field, certain accidents are caused by:
- Improper safety at the site.
- Poor training.
- Coworker incidences through unsafe job practices.
- Debris at construction sites.
- Dangerous equipment.
- Defective equipment.
- Scaffold incidences.
Just like other industries construction sites can be dangerous and to help protect workers, there are rules and regulations for most work areas. The Department of Labor oversees the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 1970.
And it was enacted to ensure safety precautions are used at construction projects. Also, under this Act, the employer has specific obligations. And accordingly, employees have individual rights.
OSHA Employer Obligations.
OSHA rules and regulations that employers must follow to ensure a safe work environment for workers include:
- Making sure the job site is free from foreseeable hazards.
- Educating the employees of OSHA safety and held standards that apply.
- Displaying the OSHA Act official poster that describes the rights and responsibilities under the act.
- Informing employees of the availability, existence, and location of medical and exposure records when first employed with an annual requirement to notify employees of these files. The employer must provide the documents upon request by the employee.
- Making certain tools and equipment are in good condition and safe for use.
- Written documentation should include a comprehensive hazard communication program. Also, covered items are employee training programs, material safety data, and container labeling.
- Ensuring employees understand the language and that safety training gets conducted.
OSHA Employee Rights
Under the 1970 OSHA Act employees have certain rights that protect dangerous workplaces or security hazards.
These rights include:
- Rules and Regulations: The employer should provide the employee with the appropriate copies of the standards, rules, and regulations, along with the employee requirements for the employee to review.
- Request Inspections: For example, employees have a right under the act to apply to an OSHA area director. Next, they inspect the workplace if the employee believes some conditions violate the standards of the rules and regulations. Same goes for hazardous conditions. During this inspection, the employee can have an authorized employee accompany the OSHA compliance officer.
- Name Withheld: The employee has the right to have their name withheld from the employer when making requests to OSHA in the event they sign and file a written complaint.
- Retaliation: The employee is to be free from any retaliatory or discriminatory actions taken by the employer as a result of an OSHA complaint.
- Medical Records: The employee should have access to proper employee exposure and medical records.
- Testing: The employee should be provided with copies of testing done for possible hazards in the workplace.
- Records: The employee has the right to review records of work-related illness and injuries.
Financial Compensation Remedies.
In some cases, those injured may be employees rather than independent subcontractors. But when employees get hurt, their only financial claim may be workers compensation. In other situations, it would go against the insurance company or employer.
In conclusion, the employee will not have the option to bring a lawsuit against the company since the worker’s compensation insurance is a viable option. But if the product maker was responsible, you could sue all in the chain of commerce.