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Articles Posted in Construction Site Accidents

Roof Falls and Safety Measures

Roof falls are a common source of serious injuries and death. OSHA Investigates Many of these cases.

Falls are the leading cause of death on construction sites. Some of these workers fall off of the roof. In addition, painters and roofers are also at risk of roof falls.

The unfortunate fact is that many of these deaths are avoidable if the employer follows Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules that are intended to protect the workers.

Tower Crane Accidents and Safety ProtocolsWe reviewed all the OSHA accident reports for tower crane accidents dating all the way back to 1984. What we learned from this review is that tower crane accidents are rare and that anything can go wrong when a tower crane is on a job site.

Given the height that is involved and the momentum when something falls from the crane, tower crane accidents have a high likelihood of being fatal.

It is hard to miss a tower crane on a jobsite. There are the massive cranes that are hundreds of feet high. When you are in a city with a lot of construction, it seems as if there is an entire city skyline featuring these cranes.

Construction site injuries and who is at faultWhen you have been hurt on a construction site, the one constant is that you will have the ability to file for financial compensation for your injuries. How you are compensated as an injured worker and who pays your claim depends on the type of your injury and what happened.

While there is the standard workers’ compensation system that is available to pay work-related injuries, you will want to try to find other potential defendants for your personal injury lawsuit because your recovery can be greater outside of the worker’s compensation system.

The first thing that you should do after a construction site accident is hire an attorney to figure out how the accident happened and who was at fault. Absent exceptional circumstances that we will discuss below, you cannot sue your own employer for a construction-related injury.

Construction Accidents have Standards through OSHAThe rate of fatal injuries for construction workers is high in all industries. According to the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), around six and a half million workers are employed at more than 250,000 construction sites across the country. The most common dangers faced by construction workers include falls from heights, exposure to electric shock and arc flashes or blasts, negligence during the use of protective equipment, trench or scaffold collapses and recurrent motion injuries.
Additionally, the workers also have to work in extreme temperatures or cope with exposure to poisonous gases and falling objects. To top it all, accidents also happen with power tools or as simple a thing as using ladders.

In short, construction workers face grave dangers that can both be fatal on one hand and seriously hazardous on the other. OSHA has outlined 10 primary standards (as per the agency’s citation in FY 2004) to avoid grievous accidents that include regulations about the scaffolding, ladders, excavations, hazard communication, fall protection, construction, electrical equipment and head protection.

Construction Workers and Dangerous Work SitesA huge segment of the construction worker industry lost their jobs between 2006 and 2009 during the decline of the US economy when the residential housing industry collapsed, and millions lost their homes because they could no longer pay the mortgage attached to rising interest rates. In the last few years, the need for new houses, remodeled homes, and commercial properties has increased dramatically causing an increasing need to fill an average of 225,000 construction jobs every month.

Because there is a significant decrease in the number of available skill laborers, many contractors are hiring inexperienced workers to ensure their jobs are completed on time. Unfortunately, this has resulted in significant safety concerns about dangerous job sites. (For information on construction accident cases, look here)

Statistics maintained by the US Bureau of Labor and the National Association of Homebuilders show that more than 2.3 million jobs were lost in the construction industry in the five years between 2006 and 2011. Many of these workers had to permanently move away from their construction job and seek employment in other industries, which significantly decreased the number of skilled contractors and laborers trained in framing, bricklaying, concrete work, plumbing, electricity, drywall, roofing, and other needed construction occupations.

Death of Sewer Worker InvestigationStreamwood, Illinois – A 22-year-old Gurnee construction worker Brett Morrow died while installing a fiberglass liner in a sewer pipe that prevents leaks. The worker was fatally injured after being hit by a large horizontal pipe that blocked access of others to help the victim. Immediately after the accident, the injured worker communicated with others at the scene but was found unresponsive by emergency responders when they arrived.

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is investigating the incident that trapped the injured victim about 25 feet into the pipe, making it difficult for rescuers to reach him to provide care. The sewer pipe liner became crumpled and hardened, which blocked access to Morrow. Rescuers from the Streamwood Fired Department cut the liner apart to successfully pull the victim out almost four hours after arriving at the construction site.

The village’s Fire Chief Chris Clark stated that “we were certainly hopeful that he would be viable. We operated as if it would be a rescue the entire time. It wasn’t until we had him removed that we were able to determine he was deceased.” The Fire Chief said that “it took some time to cut the lining material away so that technicians could get to the patient. Then we were able to remove the patient. It is very challenging, because it’s a very small space to work in, and there was a lot of safety equipment.”

Excavators and Construction Site DangersHobart, Indiana – A 62-year-old South Haven construction worker, Guy Holk, died in an evacuation site accident in Northwest Indiana on November 1, 2017, after being pinned against a wall by the bucket of an excavator. Hobart Police Department Lieutenant James Gonzalez stated that at approximately noon, emergency responders were called to the area of Pennsylvania Ave. And Lakeshore Drive where a construction crew was replacing sewer lines. When responders arrived, the victim was found unresponsive and pronounced dead at the evacuation site at 1:38 PM by the Lake County coroner’s office.

The lieutenant explained that the “operator of the excavator was inside of the cab and turned to speak with the crew member on the ground. The operator of the excavator turned back to situate himself in the seat when a piece of his clothing caught a lever, which controlled the bucket on the excavator.” The lieutenant stated in a report that “the bucket, which was positioned inside the hole, moved forward and pinned the crew member against the wall.” A death investigation remains open.”

Workplace Safety Hazards

Safety in Illinois Road ConstructionAutomobile accidents cause unwanted consequences that could lead to permanent injury, loss of earnings, a disruption in daily living or a loss of life. Information released in 2009 by the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that nearly eleven million automobile crashes occurred that year in America. In recent years, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the state of Illinois have placed a much greater emphasis on roadway safety focusing on technology and statistics to minimize the number of accidents.

Automobile crashes and collisions are often the result of a range of factors including the driver’s abilities and decisions, the vehicle, and the conditions of the road. Highway and roadway planners consider these factors when developing new roadways and improving existing streets to enhance the motoring public’s safety. Their efforts usually involve engineering, traffic law enforcement, emergency medical services, and educating the public.

Engineering

Fines in Construction CasesThe April death of a construction worker killed by a falling beam has led OSHA to fine the worker’s employer and to issue multiple health and safety citations. According to OSHA, the company overstressed the beam during a demolition project, resulting in the beam’s failure. A commission has been set up to review OSHA’s findings and determine whether the fines and citations will stand and what additional measures will be taken by the Illinois Tollway. This particular case is representative of the form of negligence our Chicago construction accident attorneys see at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC on a routine basis and is why we fight so passionately on behalf of workers’ interests.

Berwyn Resident Killed in Beam Collapse

47-year-old Vicente Santoyo was killed while working for Omega Demolition Corp. on the demolition of the I-90 bridge near Touhy Avenue. According to OSHA’s report of the events, he was cutting the bracing between two beams when one of them fell on top of him. Santoyo was among numerous workers injured in the incident, but the only one who died. OSHA determined that Omega Demolition was at fault for the incident and issued a fine for over $152,000 in addition to multiple health and safety citations.

Fatal Beam Collapse AccidentEven though the temperature was hovering around freezing with a slight breeze blowing from the southeast on the morning of April 5, 2016, it was not the weather that claimed the life of Mr. Vincente Santoyo along Interstate 90 in Des Plaines. Instead, the Elgin Omega Demolition Corporation worker was tragically killed by a falling 45-ton beam at a freeway construction worksite. The incident also caused serious injuries to three other employees.

A report by the Chicago Tribune notes that construction site crew members were removing the beam by using heavy equipment on Touhy Avenue under the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (Interstate 90) when the accident occurred. The critically injured 47-year-old victim was rushed to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. The Chicago-area native had worked in the construction industry for more than two decades.

The incident occurred on the old westbound lanes portion of the interstate that is part of the massive reconstruction I-90 project. The construction job involving the widening of the existing roadway between Chicago and Elgin to eight lanes has caused massive traffic problems at the busiest times of the day. To complete the project, these lanes were temporarily closed down and traffic redirected on the eastbound portion of the road that had already been rebuilt and completed. It remains unclear if the incident that took the life of Mr. Santoyo will delay construction and the final completion of the freeway widening project.