A North Miami construction lawyer that helps injured construction workers must always be cognizant of the presence of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”). When litigating a case against a construction company for injuries suffered at a construction site, OSHA can be used as a powerful tool in negotiating a settlement or winning at trial. Now keep in mind that OSHA only pertains to the enforcement of workplace safety — so if a non-employee was injured on a job site, then most likely OSHA will not play a significant role. But for employees injured or killed in the line of work, violations levied by OSHA are often a precursor to a lawsuit against the offending construction company or employer.
Just last week, a New York construction company was fined $68,000 for violations stemming from an April 2012 construction site accident involving a crane crashing and killing a 30 year old construction worker. This crane accident instantly took the life of the 30 year old worker. The OSHA citations had been directly related to violations of safety standards related to job site security and crane safety.
An OSHA director explained that the actions committed by the construction company constituted a disregard for “fundamental, vital and required safety policies.” Ultimately, had the proper procedures and protocols been followed, this crane accident would have never occurred and the 30 year old construction worker would still be alive today.
The department of labor and OSHA set forth specific standards and guidelines for companies, including construction companies, to follow in order to ensure the safety of its employees. When it comes to crane use, safety requirements are strictly enforced by OSHA and are expected to be followed. In fact, to use a crane on a construction site the designated employee must be highly skilled and qualified to perform such a task. Simply stated, a crane is one of the most, if not the most, dangerous instrumentality utilized on a construction site.
To name a couple, some key components that OSHA sets forth that construction companies must follow are to ensure that cranes are only operated by qualified and trained personnel. Additionally, a designated person must inspect the crane prior to use and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions for use. Failure to follow these, or any of the other requirements, could certainly result in an OSHA violation — which no construction company wants on its record.
As a South Florida construction lawyer, many of my injured clients have benefited in their case from OSHA citations levied against construction companies. While the existence of an OSHA violation does not guarantee liability or negligence of construction companies, it certainly does not hurt an injured construction worker’s chance of receiving damages and compensation for his or her loss.
If you or someone you know was injured in an accident at or near a construction site, please contact us today.
By: Brandon Stein