The Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that less than 10% of construction laborers will be the victim of an injury on site annually. Yet, there were nearly 900 deaths annually at construction sites across the country.
Construction site injuries and accidents often occur because those in charge try to cut corners to be more profitable. Instead of complying with government standards and regulation, they opt for faster cheaper work. This results in unsafe working conditions, workers who are not trained fully, lack of safety inspections, negligent workers, or defective equipment use.
In the early morning, dawn hours, of April 14th, a couple of Boston Police patrol cars were in a collision. All three of the officers in the vehicles were injured requiring transport to hospital. The accident occurred near Washington Street and Downtown Crossing, according to the Boston Police Department reports.
The patrol cars were traveling in different directions, responding to different assignments. The fourth occupant in one patrol unit was a detainee.
On April 12, 2018 a Massachusetts jury returned a verdict in favor of Brian Goodrich in the amount of $8.25 million. The award comes after years of litigation beginning in 2013 when Mr. Goodrich’s head was nearly crushed because the jack holding up a piece of equipment failed. He suffered horrendous injuries which included facial disfigurement, blindness and loss of cognitive function.
The jury found, after hearing 11 days of testimony, that the company which designed the equipment was a majority at fault. Mr. Goodrich was changing the oil on the equipment meant to melt asphalt and fill cracks in the road. Although Mr. Goodrich acknowledged not using the safety pin with the jack which held the machine up, the company failed to include safety warnings and failed to manufacture the machine appropriately knowing such accidents were possible.
Earlier this afternoon, as two flatbed truck workers were loading a Honda Accord onto the tow truck, the truck began to roll and ran over one of the workers. He was taken away in an ambulance. The Pipo’s Towing truck ended up descending approximately 250 feet down hill. This occurred on Haviland Street in Worcester at around 1:30 p.m. There were several witnesses to the incident including the three women getting the Honda Accord towed.
The other Pipo’s Towing worker was also injured when, after attempting to jump into the tow truck to stop it from continuing to roll down hill further, he fell out of the truck onto the pavement. There were no further injuries when the truck came to rest against a tree that stopped it. The accident investigation team of the Worcester Police are investigating mechanical failure as a possible cause, among other factors.
With advances in energy and technology, many construction projects today involve work with solar power and with alternative energy materials. Unfortunately, these projects require new techniques and a new base of knowledge that not every electrical worker has. When those without experience in the solar power industry are asked to perform construction work on solar projects, this can create a risk for all involved.
Our Boston construction accident attorneys urge employers hiring workers for solar projects to ensure that all electrical or construction workers hired have the requisite licensing and technical knowledge. We also urge electrical and construction workers to decline solar projects and other alternative energy projects unless they have the proper licensing and technical backgrounds.
Temporary Workers Present a Risk in Solar Power Projects
According to the Solar Industry magazine, a trade group called the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) of Greater Boston has recently expressed concerns about unlicensed temporary workers performing work at a solar power park that is currently under construction. The park is being constructed in Dartmouth Massachusetts and there is both a general contractor as well as four staffing companies who are working on staffing and managing the project.
Unfortunately, according to NECA, none of the four staffing companies have a required Class A Massachusetts master electrical license. By law, any company or individual who wishes to employ others in the business of electrical contracting must have this Class A master electrical license. Since the four staffing companies lack this license and are filling electrical positions in the solar park project, they are in violation of Massachusetts’ laws.
NECA’s concern stems not just from the fact that the staffing companies are violating the law but, more importantly, from the fact that their violation may present a safety risk. Without a proper license, there is no clear way to know if the company or workers have demonstrated full knowledge of the work required for the solar power project or of the building and safety requirements within Massachusetts.
Massachusetts has some of the most stringent licensing laws in the entire United States and these laws are intended to ensure safety in electrical workplaces and on construction sites. When work is done by temporary or unlicensed workers, this undermines the effectiveness of the licensing requirements and puts the safety of the project at risk. With new and advanced solar technologies that could require a different set of skills than traditional electrical work, it is especially important that all safety precautions be followed.
Risks of Hiring Unlicensed Workers
Any situation where unlicensed construction or electrical workers are employed is a risky situation. Aside from the fact that the workers are lacking in the license that proves they have the safety knowledge and skills needed, there are also other issues as well. For example, an unlicensed construction worker or electrical worker may not be properly insured through the state workers’ compensation system.
If a worker performs work without a license or proper insurance and is injured, the question of who is liable for the injury becomes a complicated one. This is especially true when temporary workers are used, since these workers may not be classified as employees covered under workers’ compensation. Unlicensed temporary workers who perform work on a solar project or any type of electrical or construction project will need to consult with an attorney if they suffer an injury at work to better understand how to proceed with collecting compensation.
As buildings throughout Boston age and become depilated, some old buildings need to be torn down or demolished to make room for new growth and to remove dangerous and failing structures. Unfortunately, demolition of old buildings presents many dangers both for construction workers involved in the demolition and for the public as a whole. One such danger is the risks associated with asbestos.
Recently one Boston demolition firm has been fined $100,000 for violations involving a failure to report and contain asbestos materials. Our Foxboro construction injury attorneys are concerned that this demolition firm and other violators throughout the state are putting people at risk.
Demolition Presents an Asbestos Danger to Construction Workers & The Public
Many older buildings were constructed with materials, such as insolation, that contained asbestos. Unfortunately, when these buildings are demolished, the asbestos can be breathed in and can create a significant public health hazard. Breathing in asbestos fibers puts a person at risk of various respiratory problems and health issues such as asbestosis, a chronic inflammatory lung condition. Breathing in asbestos also puts a person at risk of developing a type of cancer referred to as mesothelioma. The consequences of breathing in asbestos, therefore, can be fatal.
Unfortunately, when an old building is demolished, the demolition process can create a very significant risk that asbestos fibers will be breathed in by construction workers doing the demolition and others in the area surrounding the demolition. This is why Massachusetts has strict laws on containing the asbestos and on reporting requirements prior to demolition work being done.
Some demolition companies, however, violate these rules and put everyone at risk. According to the Construction Demolition and Recycling website, a demolition company in Swampscott Massachusetts risked public health and safety when they failed to notify the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection of demolition work they intended to perform. In failing to provide appropriate notification, the company violated the state’s Clean Air Act.
The company not only performed a demolition without proper notice, but they also allegedly failed to remove and dispose of asbestos-containing materials in the manner required by law to ensure safety. The company demolished the building without first removing the asbestos and failed to use containment procedures both during demolition and during transport. Finally, the company took the asbestos-containing materials to a storage site in Revere Massachusetts that they were not permitted to use.
By failing in their safety obligations, the demolition company endangered the health of the construction workers’ performing the demolition. They also endangered people in the surrounding areas, which in this case included a heavily-traveled area in the Boston waterfront. Because of their violations, the company was required to pay a $100,000 civil fine.
Construction workers employed by the demolition company could also have a claim against the company who exposed them to asbestos if they develop medical problems or complications that can be tied to the toxic exposure.
Roughly 150 workers have been killed, and nearly 1,000 injured, in combustible dust explosions since 1980, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In attempt to better understand combustible dust explosions and to find ways to prevent such incidents OSHA invited outside experts to participate in a Combustible Dust Expert Forum later this month. OSHA is looking to gather experts’ views and perspectives on possible regulatory options for addressing the safety issues of combustible dust hazards.
The Combustible Dust Expert Forum will include discussions targeting regulatory options that can help to minimize the costs to small- and medium-sized businesses of reducing or preventing combustible dust hazards. Representatives from various industries, academia, research groups, insurance-underwriter organizations, labor, and government will comprise expert representation at the Forum.
Our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys understand the importance of identifying the cause of these problems in effort to determine safe solutions to help protect workers. All safety measures should be taken by employers and employees to help keep the workplace safe for all.
The National Emphasis Program in 2007 was one of OSHA’s earlier efforts to address various combustible dust hazards. They conducted various targeted inspections that took a look at various workplaces that created or handled combustible dust. Results from these inspections illustrated that facilities had an alarmingly high number of general duty clause violations. These findings indicated a strong need for to create a combustible dust standard. This resulted in the publication of an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in 2009. With even more efforts, OSHA conducted six stakeholders meetings and a Web chat to discuss combustible dust in attempt to expand the opportunity for public and stakeholder participation.
Combustible materials, and sometimes even materials that are normally considered noncombustible, can burn rapidly when they’re in a finely divided form. If these types of dusts are suspended in air in the right concentration, the result can be an explosion. The force from these explosions can lead to worker deaths, injuries, and even the destruction of entire buildings.
Combustible dusts can include:
-Various fine particles.
-Chunks or flakes that can potentially cause implosion of fire when suspended in air.
These various forms of combustible dusts can be made of metal, plastic, wood, sugar, flour, coal, rubber or paper. OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics page on combustible dust offers more details information about this dangerous hazard.
The Combustible Dust Expert Forum will be May 13, 2010 at the Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. at 9 p.m.
A new and updated rule, created to protect the safety and health of shipyard workers, has recently been put into effect by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The rule has recently been published in the Federal Register and takes the place of an existing rule. It is now more compatible with the recent advances in shipyard industry practices and technology. It provides new protections from hazards that previously the rule did not address. It now includes details pertaining to the control of hazardous energy. The new rule is expected to prevent nearly 400 serious work inures in Boston and elsewhere in the United States.
“This final rule is the result of collaboration between OSHA and the maritime industry,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. “Shipyard work is dangerous, and we believe we have crafted a rule that protects workers while balancing employer concerns regarding implementation.”
Our Boston personal workers’ compensation attorneys know the dangers inherent in working in shipyards. It is the responsibility of the employer to make sure that working conditions meet all safety requirements and regulations in effort to help keep all employees safe on the job.
The final rule will address fourteen workplace safety and health categories. This will update and clarify provisions in current shipyard employment standards that had virtually gone untouched or changed since 1972, when OSHA adopted the initial rule. The new rules include the creating and enforce minimum lighting on certain work sites, assisting employees at the end of their work shifts and at the end of job tasks when working alone. The rule will also add new uniform criteria to be sure that shipyards have an adequate number of properly trained first-aid providers.
OSHA will also be adding new provisions to help control hazardous energy and to increase vehicle safety. Before the establishment of this final rule, the maritime industry had no specific standards that addressed the control of hazardous energy.
According to data from the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, transportation accidents make up nearly 20 percent of all shipyard deaths. The new rule’s provisions aim to significantly reduce these incidents as they will now require everyone use of seat belts while operating a motor vehicle in a shipyard.
A full copy of OSHA’s new rule can be found on their web page designated to the updates. Employees and employers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the new regulations and abide by them on shipyards.
A photography contest, conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), urges residents to capture a creative snapshot of workplace safety and health, according to a U.S. Department of Labor press release. The contest, titled “Picture It!”, aims to strike up awareness of the importance of a safe working environment to help prevent a work accident in Boston and elsewhere in the United States.
Our Boston workers’ compensation lawyers would like too remind employees, and employers, that a safe working environment should be kept and maintained at all times. It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that employees are safe and protected from danger and injury while on the job. Our lawyers continue to work tirelessly to recognize and fight for the rights of employees who may have been injured on the job.
OSHA is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary, which they will continue to celebrate throughout the entire year. Picture It! is kicking off the celebration and is open to those 18 and older. The contest will be accepting submissions through August 12.
Residents are encouraged to invite their friends and family to participate in the fun and creative event. You can download the contest flyer from the OSHA website to help share the details.
Photographers are asked to share their visions of workplace safety and health, and they may do so in any way they choose. Photos must be taken in the United States. Prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place winners. Photographers are asked to use their artistic skills to successfully portray occupational safety and health in such a way that would help to raise interest in the general public.
Submissions will be judged by accomplished photography professionals. They will be judged on the quality of the photograph, their compatibility with OSHA publications, clarity of the conveyed message, creativity and originality. Photos must include workers, employers or workplace imagery.
Photographs submitted by the judged winners and finalists will be posted on the OSHA photo contest web site. First-place will receive a framed letter of congratulations from Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. The three winning photos will be displayed in OSHA’s national office in Washington. The organization hopes that the participation and display of these winning photos will serve as a daily reminder for leading policymakers and prominent professionals of the purpose and drive behind OSHA’s mission.
OSHA contractors and special government employees are encouraged to participate as well. On-site consultation employees and federal OSHA, “state plan” state OSHA employees are not eligible. They will be asked to participate in a separate and internal contest that will be running during the same time as the public contest.