As a South Florida construction site injury lawyer, I constantly stress that the most important aspect of a construction project is work site safety. 9 times out of 10 I find that construction site injuries can be prevented through proper job site management and supervision. Yet, injuries continue to occur — including fatalities.
In Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, a construction worker was killed after being struck by a dump truck. The 73-year old was working as a consultant for a project at Highland Middle School. Authorities report that the construction worker was on site when the truck accidentally backed over him. The chief of police stated that the 73-year old construction worker was standing behind the dump truck and the driver did not notice the man before reversing over him. According to a local resident, construction trucks working on this project fly down the road everyday — it is not shocking that a construction worker was injured and killed. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) is currently investigating this incident.
As I commented in my post from August 22, 2012, OSHA is a governmental agency responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of hundreds of thousands of construction workers throughout the country. A key tool utilized by OSHA to achieve its goal of ensuring a safe work environment are safety inspections conducted without advance notice. These construction site inspections are conducted by highly trained, highly sophisticated OSHA compliance officers. But how can OSHA possibly inspect the 7 million plus construction sites in this country? Inspection Priorities.
Naturally, OSHA strives to inspect the most hazardous and dangerous construction sites, thus placing a priority on those particular sites. Accordingly, OSHA identifies six situations which ultimately warrant an inspection: (1) Imminent Danger Situations; (2) Fatalities and catastrophes; (3) Complaints; (4) Referrals; (5) Follow-ups; and (6) Planned Investigations. Regardless of the reason for the inspection, OSHA requires its inspectors to do their homework on a particular site before going out for the inspection.
Prior to arrival at the construction site or job site, compliance officers must research the site’s inspection history using detailed processes and procedures so that they are fully prepared. Immediately upon arrival on the site, inspectors are required to convey their respective credentials to those on site. Additionally, the officer must inform the employer of the reason for the inspection and describe the scope of the inspection. Every inspector on site must be accompanied by a designated representative of the construction company that is the subject of the inspection. Essentially, the inspector and the company’s representative does a “walk around” throughout the entire construction site so that OSHA may assess all possible hazardous conditions on site. Upon completion of the “walk around,” the investigator holds a Closing Conference with the employer to discuss potential courses of action OSHA may take. Nevertheless, should OSHA decide to issue a citation, that determination must be made available to the employer no later than six months from the date of the violation.
This is one of the many examples of how OSHA attempts to protect construction workers from hazardous conditions on their job site. Ultimately, OSHA is in place to prevent construction site injuries from occurring. Unfortunately, we do not yet know if the Beaver Falls tragedy explained above that resulted in a construction site death was due to OSHA violations. What we do know is that OSHA will be sending out their inspectors to conduct a full investigation.
However, regardless of the results of the OSHA investigation, a lawsuit may quite possibly be forthcoming given the fact that this construction site accident involved a fatality.
If you or someone you know was injured in a construction site accident, please CONTACT US TODAY.
By: Brandon Stein