Construction Accident Lawyer
Man gets $2.8M in construction site injury settlement – NJ.com
Daniel M. Santarsiero, an injury lawyer from The Law Offices of Jonathan Marshall firm in Red Bank, told NJ Advance Media the jury award may have been lower than expected because jurors aren’t given directions about how to arrive at a settlement amount …
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David A. Kapelman Personal Injury Law Blog on Lawyers.com – Lawyers.com Blog (blog)
With his main office in mid-town Manhattan and satellite offices in the Bronx and Brooklyn, David A. Kapelman construction accident lawyer provides aggressive, sensitive representation to victims of construction accidents, lead paint poisoning, medical malpractice, birth injuries … and more »
Lawyer suing transportation facility designer questions mayoral contributions – Citizens Voice
The lawyer suing the firm that designed the James F. Conahan Intermodal Transportation Facility said in court Friday that the firm has made repeated campaign contributions to Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton and suggested it knew it would land the …
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Five Worst Construction Accidents in American History
When we think of dangerous careers, certain occupations come to mind – coal miners, gas rig workers, and steel plant employees. We don’t tend to think of construction workers. Sure, they face some risk of injury—that’s why they wear hard hats—but compared to a lot of manual workers, we think, their risk is relatively low. Actually, this is not the case. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, construction workers face a higher fatal injury rate than any other occupation in the country. From falls to scaffold collapse to repetitive motion injury, construction site workers are at risk for a seemingly endless array of dangers and potential injuries.
Five Tragic Incidents Support the Data
If the government’s statistics don’t convince you, check out this list of five American construction accidents. Even those who are most skeptical of government-backed data may be convinced of construction dangers.
1. Chicago Crib – In 1909, while a water intake tunnel was being built in Chicago, the workers’ dormitory caught fire. 60 men died in the fire, 29 were seriously burned or later died of the burns, and 46 men who jumped into the surrounding water drowned or died of pneumonia. According to some historians, the fire was caused by the use of gasoline to ward off bed bugs.
2. Hawk’s Nest Tunnel – In 1927, construction began on this tunnel near Gauley Bridge, WV. The tunnel was to divert water from the New River to provide power for Union Carbide’s Kanawha and New River Power Company. During construction, silica was discovered, and the workers were told to mine it to use in steel manufacturing. Despite the fact that it was common practice for silica miners to follow certain safety precautions, none of the workers at Hawk’s Nest were provided with safety masks. A large portion of them developed silicosis, a serious lung disease, and many of them died within a year of beginning mining. The West Virginia historical marker at the site puts the death toll at 109, but a Congressional hearing reported 476 fatalities.
3. Willow Island – Tragedy seems to plague West Virginia construction sites. On April 27, 1978, a 166-foot high cooling tower that was being built at a power plant in Willow Island, WV collapsed, killing 51 workers. A variety of factors were responsible, and investigators found that the concrete underneath the tower had not fully hardened, bolts were missing, a hoisting system was not properly engineered, and the entire construction process was rushed and unsafe.
4. Hoover Dam – No one major disaster befell the Hoover Dam, but historians estimate that a total of 112 workers died during the course of its construction. The first death was J.G. Tierny, who drowned while finding the location for the dam. The last recorded death was Tierny’s son Patrick, who fell from the dam during construction.
5. 51st Street – In March 2008, a crane collapsed at a construction site at 51st street in New York City. The incident left seven dead and even more injured. The 19-story crane was to be extended (eventually to 44 stories) when a piece of steel came off and knocked off one the ties holding the crane to the building. Stephen Kaplan, owner or Reliance Construction Group, called it an “absolute freak accident.”
These tragic incidents not only verify OSHA’s claim of the dangers of construction sites, they also act as a wake-up call to construction companies. Though many of these accidents occurred years ago, construction companies still have a long way to go, as evidenced by the 51st Street incident. It is completely unacceptable that workers who spend their lives working on high-budget projects should be left so exposed to tragedy.
Scaffolding accidents on construction sites are one of the most common reasons for Workers’ Compensation claims. Additionally, scaffolding provides an increased risk for fatalities on construction sites. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average of 88 deaths occurs each year due to scaffolding accidents.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has strict provisions in place for scaffolding use, but construction companies more concerned with producing quick results than ensuring the safety of their workers all too often try to work around these regulations.
Requirements for Scaffolding Safety
Depending on the size of the scaffolding, OSHA requires that:
• Scaffolding be moved, constructed, and altered by a competent person who has had significant training in the erection of scaffolding
• A frame must be able to support four times its weight
• Guard rails be used to block access to areas where the plank extension over the end support is less than 12 inches
• Horizontal securement and vertical tie-ins be in place every 20 feet
• The use of ties, bracers, and outriggers
• The space between scaffolding planks not exceed one inch.
A full list of OSHA’s requirements can be found here. Most scaffolding accidents are caused by not following OSHA’s requirements.
Causes of Scaffolding Accidents
When the safety requirements put in place by OSHA are not followed, injuries can easily follow. The most common causes of scaffolding accidents are:
• Improper inspection of the scaffolding
• Improper construction of the scaffolding
• Inadequate securing of the scaffolding deck
• Inadequate guard rails, toe boards, screens, and safety netting
These oversights can lead to injuries from slipping and falling off the scaffolding, to being hit by falling debris. Sadly, these injuries would be avoidable if only proper safety regulations had been followed.
In almost all scaffolding accidents the employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance will cover some of the losses. In many cases, however, you have the right to seek damages from the parties responsible for the construction and safety measures on the site. Determining fault can be complicated as it involves the people responsible for the construction of the scaffolding as well as their direct supervisors and those who oversee safety on the site. Having an experienced construction accident lawyer on your side can make the difference between the average Workers’ Compensation coverage and full coverage for all injuries sustained.
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