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Pennsylvania Construction Accidents

The construction industry is one of the top ten most dangerous in the U.S. Every year more than 1,000 workers are killed as a result of construction accidents. Also, more than 250,000 construction workers are injured severely enough to miss time on the job. Workers who may become injured in Pennsylvania due to construction site accidents include carpenters, ironworkers, pipefitters, roofers, cement masons, electricians, engineers, demolition crews, road workers, crane operators, general laborers, and contractors providing a variety of services. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) was enacted in order to prevent workers from being seriously harmed or killed on the job. Under the law, employers are required to provide their employees with working conditions which are free of known dangers. The act created the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA puts protective workplace standards into place and is in charge of enforcing these standards which are intended to protect the health and safety of Americas workers. Workers may file complaints and request that OSHA inspect their workplace or construction site if they believe safety standards are being ignored or violated, or if they believe they are encountering serious safety/health standards on the job. American workers have the right to work under conditions which do not pose the risk of serious harm or death. OSHA provides training, information, and assistance to employers as well.

Workers Rights According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act

Workers are entitled to receive information about hazards of the job or hazards associated with the construction site or other place of employment. Workers are entitled to training designed to prevent injuries. Training must be provided to workers so that they may understand the OSHA standards which apply to their construction site or workplace. All training must be in the language understood by the workers. Workers have the right to request that OSHA inspect the construction site or workplace. Records of work-related illnesses and injuries must be made available for review. Copies of test results done in order to determine whether or not hazards are present must be provided to workers. Workers have the right to obtain copies of their own medical records should they be kept on file with the employer.

All U.S. workers should be able to use their rights guaranteed under the Occupational Safety and Health Act without fear of discrimination or retaliation on the part of the employer.

Who Is Covered under OSHA?

OSHA covers private sector employers and employees in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and any other U.S. jurisdictions. Therefore, the majority of Americas workers are under the jurisdiction of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration. Health and safety programs that are ran by individual states are required to be at least as strong as the Federal OSHA program. Even though state and local government workers are not covered under federal OSHA, they still have OSH act protections which are state, not federally operated. The Occupational Safety and Health Act does not cover the self-employed, family members who work on a family farm where there are no outside employees, and those covered by another federal agency, such as the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) or the MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration).

The construction industry in the U.S. employs almost six percent of the total work force, but is responsible for 20 percent of total fatalities. This is the largest number of deaths reported for any sector of U.S. industry. Even if hazards are known about in advance, the risks are extremely difficult to control in the construction industry because the work environment is constantly changing. In 2006, there were nearly 11 fatalities for every 100,000 construction workers.

Hazards Often Confronted By Workers in the Construction Industry:

Electrocution Falls from high places or structuresFall protection can be in the form of safety net systems, personal fall systems, guardrails, warning-line systems, etc. Fall protection must be provided on construction sites where there are runways, where there is residential construction, roofing, work on unprotected sides and edges, excavated holes, and other elevated working conditions. Machinery malfunctionEquipment must be inspected before each use. Machinery malfunction can result in what have been termed Caught Between injuries. Caught Between injuries along with fall injuries lead to most fatalities in the construction industry. Crane accidents and falls Construction site vehicle crashesConstruction site vehicles must be equipped with an audible warning system, safety glass, a service braking system as well as an emergency braking system, and lights and reflectors for vehicles and equipment used at night.

Accidents which occur during excavation and trenchingThe construction foreman or contractor is responsible for notifying all applicable companies that excavation is planned. This includes location of underground utilities. Being struck by falling objects or debrisNo worker is permitted to cross under or stand under working equipment such as digging or loading machinery. Explosions and firesNegligence or failure to thoroughly check conditions in and around a facility during demolition can result in explosions which may lead to construction workers injury or death.

Establishing that the construction company or the owner of the premises is liable in a Pennsylvania construction accident case is not an easy task. The victim or the victims family, in the case of wrongful death, must prove that the owner was negligent and that this negligence directly caused the injury or death. Damages received if negligence is proven may include current and future costs for medical care, recovery of lost wages due to time away from work, and pain and suffering.

How an Experienced Pennsylvania Construction Accident Attorney Can Help

If you have been injured in an accident on a construction site, contact the Pennsylvania Construction Accident Lawyers of Munley, Munley Cartwright, P.C. At Munley, Munley & Cartwright, our goal is to provide exceptional legal services to our clients. We will strive to obtain the compensation you deserve. For free consultation call us at (800) 318-5291 or fill out our online contact form! These articles are provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Professional legal counsel should be sought for specific advice relevant to your circumstances.