Construction sites can be extremely dangerous places for workers and visitors. Federal and state agencies regulate practices and policies in construction. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the New York Division of Safety and Health promulgate numerous regulations that construction companies should follow to avoid accidents and injuries to workers. These agencies also investigate accidents, and they may issue citations or penalties when a safety violation is discovered. If you are injured on a construction site in Syracuse, Rochester, or the surrounding areas, OSHA regulations may play a big role in whether you have a case. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our Syracuse construction accident attorneys may be able to help you recover damages. We can determine whether there was a violation of an OSHA standard or the New York Labor Law. In appropriate cases, documentation of such violations can help build a case for damages that go beyond workers' compensation.The Role of OSHA in Workplace Safety
The goal of the Occupational and Safety Health Act (OSHA), which was passed in 1970, is to reduce the number of accidents and injuries in the workplace and to make the workplace safer. However, in many cases, construction companies put profits ahead of worker safety. They may fix problems on the day that an inspector is set to investigate, but then they may allow the workplace to return to a more problematic and dangerous condition afterward.
Employees can report unsafe practices when they see an OSHA violation. In some cases, it is better to report an OSHA violation to an OSHA office than to an employer that shows no interest in fixing the dangerous condition.
If you are hurt on the job, or if your loved one suffers a tragic death, workers' compensation is almost always available. Workers' compensation benefits are supposed to be provided without regard to fault, either yours or your employer's. All businesses are supposed to provide employees with workers' compensation insurance, which covers medical care and lost wages.
Meanwhile, an OSHA report may suggest other parties that can be held responsible in a third-party claim. For example, there may be important witness statements that suggest that a non-employer subcontractor was responsible for installing safety guards but failed to do so, thereby causing a fall that resulted in injuries.
Additionally, OSHA and DOSH inspections and investigations may make findings about whether any safety rules were violated when a construction accident happened. It can be easier to recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit when a third party violated a law or regulation. In these cases, it may be possible to apply the doctrine of negligence per se, or a code section that was broken may itself provide a remedy.
An attorney can help a worker sue a project owner, general contractor, project manager, or building owner for fall injuries in a scaffolding accident under New York Labor Law Section 240. This law provides that scaffolding more than 20 feet off the ground must have a safety rail, in addition to other requirements. Also, there may be other violations under Section 241 of the New York Labor Law. OSHA's investigation may uncover problems on the site that could have contributed to your injuries, such as a failure to build supports, improper use of hoists, improper use of cranes, inadequate training of crane operators, or a failure to erect adequate barriers.
In some cases, an entity that was not on the site may be responsible for a worker's injuries or wrongful death, and this also may be documented in an OSHA report. If a report shows that a defective harness was responsible for your fall and subsequent injuries on a construction site, you may have a basis to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the harness.Take Your Next Legal Steps with Assistance from a Syracuse Lawyer
If you are harmed due to an OSHA violation on a construction site, our attorneys may be able to help you recover damages from the responsible parties. We represent injured workers in Syracuse, Rochester, Binghamton, Auburn, Elmira, Norwich, Cortland, Delhi, Herkimer, Watertown, Lowville, Oneida, Wampsville, Utica, Canandaigua, Oswego, Cooperstown, Ithaca, Lyons, and all of Upstate New York. Call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.