There are so many moving pieces and personnel at any construction site and a myriad of injuries can happen every day. Even the most seasoned professionals can hurt themselves on the job during:
The construction industry has one of the highest rates of worker injury versus any other industry in our nation. While the hazards and risks in construction work are often known, these hazards and risks can be hard to control in workplaces that change constantly.
One factor in construction is the use of heavy equipment, machines, scaffolds, and ladders, all of which can potentially be unsafe or used improperly, leading to not only injuries, but catastrophic ones in particular. There are also many other factors that can contribute to construction accidents, including work methods, site conditions, worker failure to use safety equipment, and a lack of proper worker training. Injuries and deaths commonly result from falls, explosions, burns, electrocution, exposure to asbestos and toxic chemicals, and asphyxiation.
The construction industry must comply with federal laws that govern workplace health and safety, primarily the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 1970, over which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, otherwise known as OSHA has regulatory jurisdiction. Most states, including California, have in some form adopted safety regulations, and these regulations apply to all of the work that is done at any given construction site.
These regulations are in effect to protect people from being injured as the result of lax policies aimed at increasing a company’s bottom line. Ultimately, in order to prevent construction site accidents and promote the awareness of safety for everybody involved in a construction project, regulations, specifications, inspection requirements, and job safety programs are all utilized in the industry.
As several individuals or organizations may work at a construction site, these individuals (with authority) and organizations can also be found liable for injuries that occur. This includes the construction site owner, architects, engineering professionals, contractors, construction managers, and manufacturers of construction machinery or equipment. Many construction projects work with general contractors, who then enter into agreements with sub-contractors to perform specific portions of the job, such as electrical or plumbing work.
In some instances, if the plaintiff can show that an OSHA regulation was violated and resulted in an injury, the law considers the defendant negligent (much like in instances of medical malpractice or wrongful death).
In other cases, a property owner or general contractor may also have a separate set of safety rules that are designed to protect workers (and visitors to the site, in some cases). The violation of these rules, either by the plaintiff or the defendant, may also be used in the lawsuit arising from a construction accident to come to a reasonable disposition for a case in a way to assesses comparative negligence. But make no mistake, often times such accidents cannot easily be blamed on the victims, especially when profit motives are the underscoring factor in why companies try to dodge the financial cost of implementing certain protective measures.