Working construction is widely recognized as one of the most dangerous jobs, but in many cases, workers are put in more danger than they have to be. As result, workers in these industries are suffering illness and injuries on a frequent basis, and many are pulled out of the job market and may even lose their lives al because they work construction.
Workplace safety is regulated by the Occupational and Safety Administration (OSHA) who attempts to enforce standards, but accidents continue to happen, and some construction firms have managed to stay in business despite having a poor safety record. When caught, violators can lose the right to do business or be fined. When an injury occurs, the person hurt may file a workers' compensation claim, or in some cases a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Ultimately staying safe requires cooperation between the workers themselves, the construction company or contractor, and the owner of the property that is being worked.
The Construction Company's Role and Responsibility
Because constructing things is their primary basis, construction firms are expected to pass on their knowledge about safety to ensure that jobs are done right without anyone getting hurt. Many property owners simply hire these companies and let them take on the responsibilities of the job on their own -- trusting that the contractor will know what they are doing. But in most cases, it is worth the extra effort for owners to get involved. They can double-check safety records and look in on construction sites, and make sure there is a solid safety plan. When owners do this, far fewer workers get hurt or killed. Also, for the most part, when tragedy strikes the media normally focuses more on the owner of the project, especially when they carry a high profile name.
The construction company isn't off the hook, however. In fact, in one recent case a Brooklyn Construction company owner was charged with manslaughter after a year of investigations showed several holes in his company's safety policy which led to the fatal fall of one of his workers. The company had a reputation for cutting corners on safety, and it is possible that the owner may have been able to reduce the chance of the accident had they double-checked safety credentials. While getting involved may seem like an extra expense, in most cases getting actively involved in safety can wind up increasing the income of construction firms by more than 50k per year.
If you've been injured due to a construction site being less safe than it should be, a construction accident attorney may be able to help you get the most out of your worker's compensation claim. In some cases, a lawyer can help you explore options for receiving a larger settlement from other sources as well.