Construction accidents are quite common. When they do occur, it is the responsibility of the Occupational Safety and Health Administrations (OSHA) to investigate what happened and whether safety protocols were broken. The Philadelphia construction injury lawyers at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt can help you contact OSHA and start the process of triggering an investigation of your workplace.
With the help of our lawyers, OSHA may be able to issue a citation to your workplace that can be used in a case against them. OSHA citations can be a powerful form of evidence that an employer at a construction site was negligent in maintaining the site. Contact our team for a consultation of your case and to get assistance in your work injury lawsuit today.
What is OSHA?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administrations, commonly known by their acronym OSHA, are part of the United States Department of Labor and are responsible for ensuring that workers have safe working conditions. They do this by regulating and enforcing safety standards on worksites. Most workers in the United States are covered under OSHA, as their enforcement applies to most private sector and federal jobs. The only workers that don’t fall under OSHA protection are those industries with their own regulatory bureaus and workers that are employed by state agencies.
OSHA’s most important function is to protect workers from injury and death before they occur, by setting workplace safety standards. Unfortunately, their regulations are not always followed and workers are harmed as a result.
When a worker suffers an injury on the job, it can have a huge negative effect on their life. Even if their injury is relatively minor, they may still have to deal with being out of work and having to pay hospital bills, on top of the avoidable pain and suffering. In cases where the injuries are more severe, their entire way of life may be changed. They may never be able to return to their job or enjoy life the way they used to. The fact of the matter is that workplace injuries can devastate their victims and their families. That’s why the OSHA protections are in place.
One of the most common workplaces for workplace injuries are construction sites. Being a construction worker can be very dangerous as there are a huge amount of injuries that can occur when working around heavy debris, large equipment, and tall heights. Thousands of construction workers are injured or killed every year in the United States, and many of these injuries could have been avoided if the proper safety standards were followed.
Common OSHA Violations
There are a number of common OSHA violations that occur on worksites. Construction employers fail to reduce the risk of injuries for a number of reasons, including laziness, forgetfulness, and budget concerns. OSHA found that the following “fatal four” causes of worker deaths could have been prevented:
- Falls – Construction employers have a duty to provide safeguards in areas where workers are at a risk for falling more than six feet.
- Struck by an object – Workers on a construction site must wear certain protective gear, like hardhats, to protect themselves from falling objects. Employers generally have a duty to provide this protective equipment to their workers.
- Caught in equipment – Protective systems must be in place to protect workers from the possibility of getting caught in equipment.
- Electrocution – Employees must be provided with protections if there are electrical circuits on a worksite.
Employer Obligations Under OSHA
Employers on construction sites and at other workplaces have a duty to protect their workers by being proactive in ensuring their safety. OSHA regulations spell out certain responsibilities that employers have to their workers. To minimize the risk of injuries in the workplace, employers must:
- Communicate established and updated operating procedures to employees
- Comply with all OSHA rules and regulations
- Develop and implement a hazard communication program
- Display the OSHA safety and health standards posters prominently
- Ensure employees have access to safety tools and properly maintained equipment
- Keep records of fatalities and injuries and report them to OSHA
- Offer medical examinations and training when required
- Post citations of violations and correct them by the OSHA deadline
- Provide a workplace that is free of recognized hazards
- Provide access to medical records, exposure records, and a log of work-related injuries and illnesses
- Provide safety training
- Use color-coded posters and signs to label hazardous materials
Philadelphia Construction Injury Lawyers
Many injuries that happen on a construction site could have been avoided if the safety of the construction workers was prioritized. Unfortunately, that is not always the case as neglect and profit margins put workers at risk.
When a construction employer fails to uphold their duty to protect their workers, their victims can work to hold them accountable through a workplace injury lawsuit. If you or a loved one have been injured on a construction site due to your employer’s negligence, contact our team today by filling out our form or calling 1-800-590-4116. We are hard-working lawyers for hard-working people.