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Recent Workplace Fatalities Raise Awareness of Construction Hazards

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH) was put in place by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to prevent workers from being killed or seriously harmed at work.  Under the act, workers are entitled to working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm, and all workers have the right to a safe workplace. Unfortunately, no amount of rules or legislation can prevent all accidents, and just this month, at least two men lost their lives in separate workplace accidents.

The Wall Street Journal reports one worker died and two others were seriously injured when the building they were working on in New York City collapsed March 22. The workers were tearing down a two-story warehouse during a Columbia University expansion project in Harlem.  The collapse is still being investigated, but preliminary findings suggest the workers cut a structural beam supporting the warehouse “causing steel beams, bricks and reinforced concrete to collapse onto the workers and bury them in debris,” according to the article.

On March 27, in Salem, Virginia, a 33-year-old man unloading steel beams from a tractor-trailer died when one of the beams fell on him and pinned his legs, according to the Roanoke Times. The man was flown to the local hospital, but succumbed later to his injuries. The truck was being unloaded at the New Millennium Building Systems plant.

While investigations are ongoing at both sites, the fatalities fall into what OSHA refers to as the “fatal four.”  OSHA refers to the leading causes of death for construction workers as the “fatal four”: falls, electrocution, struck by object, and caught–in/between.  According to government statistics, these four types of accidents were responsible for nearly three out of five (57%) construction worker deaths in 2010.  OSHA states that eliminating the fatal four would save 431 workers’ lives in America every year.

The state of Pennsylvania, however, is being proactive in preventing workplace injuries such as these from occurring at a new construction site in Allentown that will ultimately employ over 150 workers.  OSHA announced earlier this month that OSHA and Skanska USA Building Inc. and Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s PA/OSHA Consultation Program are partnering to “promote workplace safety and health, and provide guidance, technical assistance and training for workers involved in the construction of PPL Corp.’s new data and operations center in Upper Macungie Township.”

“This partnership underscores OSHA’s commitment to keeping workers safe,” said OSHA’s Allentown Area Office director, Jean Kulp. “We look forward to working closely with our partners to identify methods to reduce falls and other dangers common in the high-hazard construction industry.”

In Pennsylvania, 219 workers died in workplace accidents in 2010. Of those fatalities, 46 were caused by falls, 36 by contact with objects and equipment and 78 were transportation accidents.  199 men and 20 women died in the accidents.  79 of the deaths were in the production, transportation, and material moving occupations, with construction deaths totaling 49.

Our attorneys at Munley Law are experienced in worksite accident lawsuits and will evaluate your case and explore all possible sources of recovery. Our lawyers know how to handle hearings; we know the laws and we know how to work with the laws to get you compensation for lost wages and medical benefits.  Workplace accident cases are very complicated and relying on a workplace accident attorney at Munley, Munley and Cartwright can help you get the best compensation possible.

If you or a loved one has been harmed in an accident on-the-job, you may have a legal claim. Contact us by submitting an online free claim evaluation

 

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