Employer Responsibilities for Preventing Construction Site Accidents

By Peter DePaolis

injury on a construction siteFalls are the number one cause of preventable death at construction sites, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Besides falls, a number of dangers can be present every day to workers whose companies fail to provide them with the safe workplace the law demands. Deadly accidents at job sites not only occur in large-scale, high-rise construction, but fatal falls, and other on-the-job construction deaths can also take place in smaller home and office construction sites. Some smaller-scale construction projects might even present a greater risk to employees, as employers mistakenly think the risk of a job injury is lower and therefore may fail their employer responsibilities to take necessary preventative actions.

The construction accident lawyers at our offices in Northern Virginia, location have seen firsthand many cases of grieving families whose loved ones have died due to preventable accidents on the job. These families want to know why preventable construction accidents occurred and what can be done to ensure it does not happen to others.

Since our doors opened in 1979, we have worked tirelessly to answer these questions and take legal action against negligent construction companies in and around Virginia on their behalf. In fact, our work has helped to improve the law for workers nationwide. This includes our work on behalf of workers exposed to asbestos on the job by expanding their rights to file more than one claim in relation to progressing forms of mesothelioma and cancer.

How are Employers Responsible for Safety in the Workplace?

It is the absolute responsibility of employers to have proper safety procedures to ensure their workers stay safe. OSHA recommends a three-part outreach campaign for employers, contractors, and subcontractors to reduce construction accidents and injuries to workers. Our DC construction site injury lawyers provide this brief overview of employer responsibility for workplace safety:

  • Plan for the project to be completed safely. It is the employer’s duty to know what the job is going to entail, what safety equipment is needed, and what steps must be taken to protect workers from falls, electrocutions or other preventable injuries. The plan should be laid out and reviewed with each employee, noting any areas that may constitute a potential hazard in the project. Our construction accident attorneys also have experience assisting companies in developing and implementing effective emergency response plans in case of workplace accident or injury.
  • Provide the necessary safety equipment. Construction employers must provide the necessary equipment and ensure existing equipment, as well as machinery, is maintained on a regular basis. This includes putting procedures in place where workers check scaffolding and ladders each time they are used. OSHA recommends the use of Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS), which are body harnesses connected to lifelines and anchors to catch workers if they fall. The use of PFAS is mandatory if the potential vertical drop at the construction site is six feet or more.
  • Train all workers to properly use safety equipment. The best safety equipment or PFAS will be worthless if not correctly used. The employer must ensure all workers are properly trained and execute each important construction site safety step every time machinery, scaffolding, ladders, and other construction equipment is used.

Employer Responsibilities to Prevent Accidents in the Workplace

When a construction worker is injured or dies in an accident, such as a ladder or scaffold fall, a complete investigation must be performed to understand exactly how and why this happened. These are the minimum questions that must be answered for the worker or surviving family, and this inquiry is the start to ensure such accidents do not occur to others in the future.

The construction site injury attorneys at the personal injury law firm of Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P. have decades of experience with workers’ compensation and on-the-job accidents throughout Northern Virginia. Call us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review offered to any construction worker who was injured or a family member lost a loved one in a fatal construction accident.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.