The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 1970 states that U.S. employers are required to provide a safe and healthful workplace. Unfortunately, not every employer complies. Take, for example, the recent trench collapse in South Carolina. Though no one was fatally injured in the incident, OSHA fined the company for not protecting its employees from trench collapse hazards. Learn more about these dangerous but common incidents involving construction site negligence, including your right to pursue compensation for the losses and injuries you have sustained.
OSHA’s Trenching Standards Promote Safety
Trench collapses are entirely preventable, especially when employers adhere to the standard OSHA protocols. This involves using protective systems on any trenches that exceed five feet. It also requires that employees are trained and protected with appropriate gear while inside the trench. Any failure to adhere may be considered an act of negligence, which may entitle the victim to compensation outside of the standard workers’ compensation system.
Failures in Safety Not Uncommon
Although one would like to believe that employers typically adhere to OSHA’s safety standards, evidence shows that failures in safety are not uncommon. As an example, there were 23 deaths in trenches during 2016, and a total of 15 already for 2017. There are also several injuries, which have not resulted in a fatality, such as the incident involving the worker in South Carolina.
Workers’ Compensation versus Third-Party Negligence
In the construction industry, it can be difficult to discern whether an accident is the fault of an employer or a third-party entity. However, this can make all the difference in how one goes about seeking compensation. Those covered under workers’ compensation would go through their employer’s insurance, but this may not cover all the victim’s losses.
Third-party negligence cases are those in which an external entity – perhaps the state, a contracted supervisor, or another agent – acted with negligence and contributed to the accident. Though more complex, such cases often result in a more favorable settlement for injured victims. Such compensation may be pursued independently or in conjunction with a workers’ compensation claim. To learn which options may be available to you, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer for guidance and assistance.
Contact Our Green Bay Construction Accident Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been killed or injured on a construction site because of negligence, contact Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd. for assistance. Committed to helping you obtain the compensation you deserve, our Green Bay construction accident lawyers will aggressively protect your rights and best interests, every step of the way. Schedule your free and personalized consultation by calling 920-739-7366 today.