Most construction projects are busy, complicated jobs with many different workers and moving pieces. In addition to on-site workers, there may be several parties involved in construction projects off-site that still share the responsibility of getting work done in a safe manner.
That’s why, when accidents do occur on the job site, it takes work to determine who is actually at fault and uncover the conditions and events that caused your injury. While each accident case is unique, there are some common trends in the construction industry that contribute to accidents.
While some cases are truly accidents, it’s possible that your accident was caused by another party’s negligence. In that instance, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and other damages.
Investigating these causes and capturing evidence to prove them is an important part of the work your construction accident injury lawyer will perform on your behalf. However, it doesn’t hurt to educate yourself on the potential source of your accident. To help you with that, we’ve compiled this list of common causes of construction site accidents.
What Might Have Caused Your Construction Site Accident?
Most construction site accidents occur due to what OSHA calls “the fatal four”:
However, part of building a legal case is investigating the underlying situations and behaviors that may have either partially or wholly caused the accident. Workers, employers, vendors, and others involved directly or indirectly in construction work have a duty to abide by certain rules and regulations to secure worksites and keep workers safe. These regulations may include the following.
Lack of Proper Training
Under the federal Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers have the duty to train workers on proper safety procedures — and they must provide training in an employee’s native language if they are a non-English speaker. However, construction projects often have what OSHA refers to as multi-employer worksites. That means that there are many different parties with many different contractual and employment relationships.
Determining who is responsible for training in these cases can be difficult. OSHA does have policies in place to determine the responsibilities of different parties on the worksite, but these rules are exceptionally complicated and may depend on the individual nature of your relationship. For instance, a general contractor may share some liability in a worksite accident if they have established themselves as a “safety supervisor.”
The bottom line is that it typically takes considerable time, effort, and expertise to work out the duties of various parties as defined by OSHA and other regulating bodies. That’s why many injured workers hire an accident claim lawyer to help.
Lack of Proper Equipment
Similarly, employers have a duty to provide personal protective equipment (PPE), such as safety glasses, hard hats, and face shields. They should also educate workers on how to properly use this equipment. However, establishing who is responsible for this equipment and training — and whether lack of equipment played a part in your accident — typically requires tremendous time and effort.
Failure to Maintain or Replace Equipment
PPE, heavy machinery, vehicles, and other equipment provided to workers should be periodically inspected, reasonably maintained, and replaced when necessary. If the failure of this equipment can be proven to have directly contributed to your accident, you may have grounds to pursue compensation.
Poor Business Practices
In many cases, construction accidents result from individual lapses in judgment, attentiveness, or carelessness. However, there are times when an employer actively encourages unsafe or reckless behavior. Employers may also misclassify workers as independent contractors to avoid certain responsibilities, or intimidate or terminate employees who bring safety concerns to light. These practices may be difficult to document without a construction site accident lawyer who can request internal documents and witness statements to prove a systemic pattern of employer negligence.
Equipment or Materials Malfunctions and Defects
Workers and their employers are not the only ones who share responsibility for safety. Vendors and manufacturers who provide faulty or defective products may also be held liable for a construction site accident if it can be proven that these materials directly caused the accident.
Failure to Properly Secure Worksites
Project owners — and in some cases property owners as well — have a responsibility to ensure that worksites are safe and workers are protected. Examples of these duties include creating fall protection systems, removing tripping hazards, and properly notifying workers of potentially dangerous situations.
Construction work often involves the use of specialized industrial vehicles, in particular forklifts and other lift systems. Improper use or maintenance of forklifts is one of the most frequently cited construction site infractions by OSHA. Inattention, dangerous driving, and lifting practices, or failure to adhere to safety guidelines when using forklifts or other vehicles, can result in serious accidents.
Construction workers have the right to a reasonably safe work environment. When another party fails to do their part to prevent accidents and you are injured as result, you may have a case for legal action. An accident claim lawyer, like the ones on our team at FVF, can help you understand your rights and options and untangle who is responsible for your accident.
Contact us today to speak with an expert — and get advice on how to protect your health, finances, and well-being after an accident.