According to recent statistics, Texas has one of the highest workplace fatality rates in the United States. Many of these fatalities happen at construction sites. In fact, representatives from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) have publicly commented on the relatively lax safety norms in Texas’s construction industry. And, because Texas is the only state in the U.S. that does not require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance, countless construction workers are not covered.
At Howry Breen & Herman, we have spent nearly 25 years fighting for the rights of injured individuals, as well as families, businesses, and other entities affected by negligence. If you were injured or your loved one was killed as a result of unsafe or negligent conditions at a construction site, we can help. Our Austin construction accident attorneys have the litigation experience to aggressively advocate for you and your recovery.
Common Types of Construction Accidents
The very nature of construction work makes it a dangerous occupation. Construction workers are required to work with heavy materials, operate machinery, and move around unfinished job sites on a daily basis. Though there many industry regulations and safety standards set forth by OSHA, they are not always followed—sometimes with deadly consequences.
Some of the most common construction accidents include:
- Falling from unsafe scaffolding and other heights
- Being hit by falling objects or debris
- Explosions, fires, and electrocutions
- Becoming trapped between objects, materials, or machinery
- Collapsing trenches, leading to burials
- Vehicle-related accidents, including being hit by passing motorists
- Misuse of machinery and/or defective machinery
- Slipping, tripping, or falling
Construction workers can also suffer from overexertion and may develop chronic injuries as a result of long-term physical labor. Because of the highly dangerous nature of these accidents, injuries are often severe and life-altering. Many construction accidents are ultimately fatal, with about 18% of all workplace fatalities resulting from construction accidents, according to a 2010 study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Was Your Construction Accident the Result of Negligence?
As with all personal injury claims, construction accident cases are dependent on proving negligence. In other words, you must prove that another person, company, or entity acted carelessly or recklessly and that those careless or reckless actions directly or indirectly caused your injuries.
A construction accident may be due to negligence if it occurred as a result of:
- Inadequate or improper training
- Failure to follow safety rules and regulations
- Insufficient supervision
- Negligent management and/or hiring
- Failure to address an employee’s safety concerns
- Lack of proper machinery/equipment maintenance
- Exposure to hazardous materials or toxic fumes
- Unrealistic employer expectations, leading to safety shortcuts
- Unsafe procedures or job site conditions
These are just some examples of how negligence can cause construction accidents. These types of claims tend to be very complex due to the number of parties involved, as well as state and federal laws regarding workplace safety. In order to pursue any construction accident claim, you will have to prove that your employer or another negligent party owed you a “duty of care” and that this duty of care was breached. It is important that you speak with an experienced construction accident lawyer in Austin who can help you navigate the process.
Common OSHA Violations on Active Jobsites
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created numerous safety regulations that all active construction sites should follow. Unfortunately, lack of supervision or training, negligence, and attempts to cut company costs (among other factors) can all lead to OSHA violations. These violations, in turn, can lead to serious accidents, threatening the health and safety of construction workers.
Some of the most common OSHA violations on construction sites include:
- Insufficient fall protection
- Improper/lack of training
- Lack of head, face, and/or eye protection
- Failure to communicate hazards
- Unsafe scaffolds and ladders
- Defective equipment/tools
- Open holes and other fall hazards
- Failure to provide respiratory protection
- Insufficient control of energy/electrical systems
- Poor machine guarding
- Improper use of industrial trucks/vehicles
When construction companies fail to follow all OSHA regulations, workers can be involved in severe and sometimes fatal accidents. In such cases, the person or party responsible for the safety/health violation can and should be held accountable.
Call Howry Breen & Herman for a Free Consultation
A construction accident can have serious, life-changing consequences for both the victim and his or her family and loved ones. In many cases, injured individuals can pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, lost earning capacity, and more. The family members of a construction worker who was killed while on the job may be able to recover compensation for medical treatment prior to death, funeral costs, loss of companionship, and more.
At Howry Breen & Herman, we are dedicated to fighting for your fair recovery. Our attorneys offer a compassionate and aggressive approach to each case they take on. We take the time to meet with you, learn the specifics of your situation, and understand your unique goals. From there, we act as your tireless advocate throughout every stage of the legal process.