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Overview of OSHA and Construction Accidents

If you or a loved one works in the construction industry, then you have probably heard of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA is a part of the Department of Labor tasked with monitoring and improving the safety of working conditions for people across the country. If you were injured in a construction site accident an experienced Miami construction accident attorney can help. Experienced attorneys understand how the regulations can be used in law suits to argue for minimum standards of safety to protect workers from known dangers.

What Does OSHA Do for The Construction Industry?

The federal government created OSHA in 1970 with the goal of reducing workplace accidents. The primary role of OSHA is to provide training and education for both employees and employers to make the workplaces safer. When a serious injury or death occurs on the jobsite an OSHA investigation into the causes of the accident often takes place. When violations are found OSHA can prosecute employers for workplace safety violations. In addition, the agency is tasked to perform routine workplace inspections, and make reports and if violations are found issue warnings and fines to employers who failed to comply with state and federal safety rules.

Many industries have layers of regulations and agreements requiring safe practices. However, because it is largely unregulated, the construction industry is particularly perilous for workers. Thus, OSHA plays a vital role in enhancing and enforcing safety rules in the construction industry. Though any workplace can be unsafe construction work is universally known to be one of the most dangerous occupations in the economy. OSHA reports that approximately one in ten construction workers will suffer an injury every year. This amounts to 150,000 serious or fatal construction accidents every year.

Because construction is such a dangerous industry, the agency takes complaints about workplace safety violations seriously. Workers who have concerns that a construction site or other workplace is unsafe can file a complaint with OSHA, which will then is required to investigate the working conditions. It is illegal for workers to be fired, demoted, or otherwise penalized for contacting OSHA, and an worker can file a complaint without informing the employer.

When an employer is subject to OSHA requirements (and most are), that employer must keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses, perform testing and maintain records of the results of OSHA-mandated tests, and inform OSHA whenever there is an injury on the job. An employer which deliberately violates OSHA rules may face severe penalties, including fines and even worksite closures.

How Does OSHA Help After a Workplace Injury?

When an injury occurs, state or federal workers’ compensation laws require that medical treatment and wage benefits be paid regardless of who was at fault.

While the no-fault workers’ compensation system provides benefits to workers injured on the job, the system cannot not provide full compensation which can be recovered in a personal injury lawsuit. This is because workers’ compensation laws do not provide benefits for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of ability to enjoy life. Often these human losses far outweigh the cost of medical treatment and wage replacement.

Filing a personal injury lawsuit against an employer which provided workers compensation benefits after a workplace injury is difficult. State and federal laws immunize employers from liability in almost all workplace injuries caused by negligence. To file a lawsuit against an employer for a workplace injury in Florida, the employee would have to prove that the employer knew about the dangerous condition, that the dangerous condition was almost certain to cause an injury, and that the employer hid or concealed the dangerous condition from the employee(s). Evidence of OSHA violations or other unsafe conditions can be powerful evidence that an employer purposely put his or her employees in danger, and may help an injured worker win a personal injury lawsuit. Read on; other entities may still be liable for the human harms and losses.

Get Help After a Miami Construction Accident

When an injury on a construction is caused by a third party not the employer, then the injured worker may have a right to sue for all losses not provided by workman’s compensation. For instance, a road worker who is injured by a drunk driver who plows through the road work zone can sue that driver for negligence. In the same way, if a piece of machinery malfunctions and causes an injury, the manufacturer of that machinery could be liable for damages. Likewise, co-workers from other companies may have enforceable responsibility.

If you were injured on the job, you may have more options than the workers’ compensation benefits. Contact the experienced construction accident attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A., and let us review your case for free. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call (877) 475-2905 today.

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