Construction Site Accidents: Who Is Ultimately Responsible for Worker Safety?

Most workplaces have policies making safety everyone’s responsibility and signs advising workers to identify safety hazards. The law is more limited in its approach. When workers become deceased or seriously injured while acting within the course and scope of their employment, the injured workers must receive compensation for their injuries.

A Note on Workers’ Compensation

Employers in all 50 states are required to cover employees under their workers’ compensation insurance policies, which provide benefits to the employee in the event of the employee’s injury while on the job. Such benefits include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and benefits payable upon one’s death. This labor-related law was designed to proved an economically viable alternative to costly litigation between employees and employers. As a result, workers’ compensation coverage generally forecloses civil litigation arising from workplace accidents.

Workers covered under workers’ compensation are generally not eligible to sue for injuries sustained in workplace accidents. However, the construction industry commonly uses laborers who are not fully documented, as well as subcontractors for many tasks. Independent contractors are not covered under workers’ compensation statutes, making them eligible to file claims for negligence.

Types of Construction Accidents

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 4,069 Americans were killed on the job in 2011. Of these, 17.5 percent involve construction accidents. Falls comprise 35 percent of construction accidents while blunt-force injuries, electrocution, and crush injuries comprise 10, 9, and 3 percent respectively. In other words, most construction accidents involve a mixture of workers making mistakes and errors in oversight.

However, not every accident involves negligence on the job site. Crane accidents and structural failures can occur if the materials do not meet the advertised specification. Bolts that are too hard or too soft can have greatly reduced shear strength, improperly treated steel can rust quickly, and poorly prefabricated materials can have poor welding and substandard materials.

Negligence

Whether the accident occurs as a result of on-site negligence or a bad lot of materials or equipment, businesses must be prepared to deal with the aftermath. If someone dies or becomes seriously injured while on site and if that person is not covered under workers’ compensation insurance, many parties are likely to be named defendants in a lawsuit for negligence. Negligence is a tort involving conduct that fails to meet the appropriate standard of care.

Who is theoretically liable for a construction-related injury depends upon the nature and the cause of the injury.

Fault

If the incident occurs as a result of a worker’s failure to check a blind spot or perform work at a satisfactory level, the worker will be liable for the damages and his or her employer will be vicariously liable; the employer will also be liable for its own negligence in failing to train or supervise the employee. If a defective item caused the incident, the manufacturer will be held responsible for the manufacturing, design or marketing defect. If the defect was something that a reasonable reseller or installer would have noticed, the supplier or installer may also be liable for negligence for failing to notice the defect.

Whether the incident involves a major crane collapse or structural failure or a worker’s foot being injured by a forklift, the avenue of recovery is the same. In practice, construction accidents often involve failures on multiple levels. Poorly trained employees, poor supervision, and in some cases, poor equipment can combine to create an unnecessary workplace tragedy. In identifying which party is responsible for the injury, the law seeks to identify the party that failed to adhere to industry standards and acted unreasonably.

Does Your Construction Logo Project Confidence And Reliability?

If your company is in the construction industry, it will need to have a solid construction logo that is able to project confidence and reliability to your clients. Here are a few suggestions or ideas that you could consider if you happen to have a say on how you want the logo to look like.

Use Practical Symbols

When we talk about construction, what normally comes to your mind? Huge tractors, buildings, drawing boards, construction tools, hard hats and many more building equipment will zip by your thoughts, right? These are basically symbols which you could consider using when coming up with your own logo design for your company. They need to be practical symbols that people could easily identify with at first glance. Since the construction industry is quite wide, tailor the logo design to be a specific one for your industry group. For instance, under the construction industry, there are different groups comprising architects, developers, suppliers, contractors, drawers and many more. So it’s important that your company logo represents what you do clearly.

Stick With Simple Text Designs

If you are relying on your company name, then you need to ensure that the design shows your company name clearly. Simple designs will showcase clarity to get the message across. The type of fonts that is being used for the design needs to be clean and easy to read. So if your company needs to do a re-branding exercise, it would be good to take these points into consideration. The idea is to come up with a much better design which looks better than the previous logo. This will bring some form of freshness not only to your company but also to your clients when they see the new logo.

Get Help

It’s common for many businesses or companies to look for professional logo design companies to help them create a new logo or to revamp their current one. Many businesses are pressed for time and they would rather get the help of expert professional designers to handle the creative work for them. This will also give your company the opportunity to see the different design ideas and have control of what kind of image to adopt.

Summary

So take charge and consider whether your current construction logo needs a revamping or not to project more confidence and reliability to your customer base. Go ahead and make the necessary changes to improve your business further. You’ll be glad you did.

Getting Trained For Construction Management Jobs

Construction Management jobs like that of a Construction Manager are two-fold in scope: you must possess the technical knowledge and skills for the job; and you must know how to manage people too. That is where the difficulty in these jobs comes in -people are flawed and lacking in some departments while exhibiting strength in others. This means the best candidate for the job may be one of the nastiest overseers you have ever met, but man, does he know construction! On the other hand, you might wind up with a candidate who is an all-around good guy (the type of colleague you would readily invite over to your house to meet your family) but who is completely inept and incompetent in technical issues. In a case like this, the better person for the job would be the nasty candidate (though you can always keep in touch with the nicer candidate for leisure pursuits, like joining a weekend bowling club together maybe.)

The technical training you need to be a competent Construction Manager would involve being a college or university graduate of either civil engineering, construction management, or construction science. Here is where some problems at work also start – there are some employees who literally worked their way up from the grungiest lowliest Construction Management jobs in the construction firm and toiled for years just to get to that post. Then, all of a sudden, the top brass go and hire some young yet very smart college graduate and put that new hiree in a higher position than that held by the older employees. Don’t laugh -this is an all-too-common situation in many companies. The older employees who started at rock bottom in the company may resent their new Construction Manager for being a) young, b) smart, c) very competent, and d) now has become their new boss. Filing in vacancies for these jobs with employees who are younger than their subordinates has been proven to be a reason to expect problems in the future. It is more of a psychological and social problem though than a technical construction problem.

To resolve this problem, there are employers offering jobs who specify a range of the desired age of any candidates, as well as minimum number of years of experience in the same line of work. This helps give the new hiree a leg up when it comes to integrity and perceived competence for the position. (And it also passes the buck for training a new college graduate to a different firm which is wiling to absorb the risks that come with hiring inexperienced college graduates for Construction Management Jobs.)

Is experience the best teacher for these jobs then? Not necessarily – there are things about Construction Management Jobs you can learn by theory that you will never learn through experience. The best learning process though is one that can harness both formal education and experience together to give the organization the best possible Construction Manager they can get at that time.

Construction Dangers on the Road

There are many potential hazards on highways that could potentially harm vehicles and drivers. One that can pose particular danger to drivers and workers alike is ongoing construction. Construction changes the familiarity of roads and may create obstacles that surprise drivers and potentially lead to accident and injury.

Road Hazards

Road construction can be hazardous to drivers in a number of ways, including:

Debris. Construction equipment may kick up large debris onto the road, damaging a car’s transmission or causing a driver to swerve into another lane.
Inadequate signage. Not warning drivers early enough in advance could cause a driver to crash into a construction zone.
Improper signage. Signage giving drivers wrong directions for how to navigate a construction zone could lead to a collision.
Distraction. Drivers not paying attention may fail to heed sign warnings and cause an accident.

Avoiding an Accident

If you are approaching or driving through a construction zone, consider the following safety tips to keep you and others safe:

Always pay attention to signs. Read signs that notify you of lane changes or road closures and follow their instructions.
Don’t maneuver at the last minute. If a sign tells you to switch lanes, do not try to speed along in your lane and switch at the last moment. You risk being unable to get over and crashing into the construction zone, injuring yourself and construction workers.
Don’t speed. Don’t drive over the reduced speed limit when you are in a construction zone. Speeds are generally lower in construction zones so that drivers have time to react to changes in the roadway.
Don’t drive distracted. Avoid talking on your phone, carrying a conversation, or looking out the side window while you are in a construction zone. Since construction zones can be unpredictable you must be aware of your surroundings and prepared to switch lanes or stop suddenly if needed.
Report a problem. If there is debris on the road or improper or inadequate signage, report the problem immediately.

Common Construction Tools and How They Can Become Dangerous

Regardless of the scale of a construction site, from modest home improvements to the grandest glittering skyscrapers, building and repairing a structure is a dangerous business. Sometimes the danger comes from the very tools construction workers have to use every day in the practice of their trade. People that work in offices or other jobs rarely have to fear death from their keyboards, monitors, copy machines or water coolers, but construction workers have to be constantly on their guard every moment they operate their tools, lest an accident occur that leads to serious injury, disability, or even death.

Some of the most dangerous tools on a construction site include:

Power Nailers: Commonly called nail guns, these devices propel pointy metal spikes with great force. This tool perhaps best illustrates the true danger of construction work, as its basic function mimics the nature of a weapon. Keyboards, while they may help cause carpal tunnel, aren’t likely to misfire and shoot themselves through your chest.
Saws: Chainsaws, circular saws, table saws, are found on virtually every construction site in the United States, and while they all have built-in safety functions, their basic purpose is to separate one piece of material into two or more pieces of material. While that material is usually wood or concrete or Formica, woe to the construction worker that gets an arm or finger or leg in the way.
Air Compressors: While not a tool in and of themselves, they often provide the power for a host of other tools and construction applications. The reality is that air compressors are actually complicated pieces of equipment that can fail catastrophically if they are mishandled, poorly constructed, or worst of all, used in the correct manner. Combine high pressure air with a flawed tank or a leaky hose and you get a dangerous situation indeed.
Backhoes: These pieces of heavy machinery are ubiquitous on most major construction sites, as their versatility and power make them valuable assets in moving and demolishing material. Unfortunately, because they are big, heavy and power, this makes them more likely to cause serious injury to anyone on a construction site, even when they are use properly. Any failure in these complicated machines, from a leaky hydraulic line to a rusty bolt on a chassis or an irresponsible and untrained operator can make a backhoe deadlier than a main battle tank.

The best thing to remember about construction sites that require tools is that they should be respected as anything that could cause serious injury or death should. When careless people operate them, or incompetent site managers fail to advise workers of their presence, accidents occur, people suffer, and lawsuits begin.

The truth is, even in the best situations, accidents still occur. Be aware of your situation, and be careful.

Construction Injuries – The FAQ’s and the Facts

Working at a construction site is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. In 2006, the latest year for which statistics are available, 1226 construction workers died from injuries on the job. General unskilled laborers are the group most at risk, accounting for 27% of construction site deaths. Ironworkers and roofers also experienced high rates of injury and death. Here are some FAQ’s and facts about construction injuries.

How common are construction site injuries? Every year one out of ten construction workers sustains an injury on the job.

What is the most frequent type of accident on construction sites? Falls, both in place and from height, are the most frequent type of accidents on construction sites. Other causes of injury include electrocution, trench cave-ins, and malfunctioning equipment, especially cranes, forklifts and other machinery.

What is the most frequent type of injury sustained in construction? Back injuries are the most frequently occurring type of construction injury.

Do certain trades have higher rates of injuries and death? Unskilled laborers have the highest rate of fatal injuries. Among the skilled trades, ironworkers and roofers have the highest rates of injury. For ironworkers, decking operations carry the highest risk of injury.

Can a construction injury attorney help me claim compensation for loss of earning capacity if I am injured on a construction job? An experienced construction attorney will work to recover lost earnings, and seek compensation loss of earning capacity. For example, if you earn a regular salary, and because of your injury you miss several weeks or several months of work, you are entitled to be reasonably compensated for the entire loss of earnings from the time of your injury until you are able to return to full time work.

What kinds of expenses are involved in a construction site lawsuit? Although each case is unique, most construction site lawsuits involve fees for investigators, consultants and expert witnesses, including engineers and medical personnel, case analysis, photography, computer graphics, and other expenses associated with preparation of models and evidence. In addition there are costs associated with researching and preparing a case, deposing witnesses, and court costs.

How can I pay for a lawsuit? The usual arrangement for hiring a lawyer in a construction injury case is a contingent fee agreement. The attorney agrees to be paid a fee only if the client’s case is ultimately successful, either by settlement out of court or by a judgment following a court proceeding. The attorney then receives a percentage of the final amount recovered. This fee arrangement is helpful for most people because it does not require the person bringing the case to pay any money up front. Often the attorney may also be able to front part or all of the costs of litigation until the conclusion of the case.

I Got Hurt at Work – Construction Site Edition

Construction work is one of the most classic occupations in the United States. Every town and city was built on the hard work of industrious people willing to put their well-being on the line to get the job done. Unfortunately, from time to time, accidents occur and deeply effect the lives of workers and their families.

The most important thing to remember about construction site accidents is the broad range of damage that can be dealt. Injury can be something as mundane as repetitive stress to something as serious as death by explosion. Construction workers have to keep their eyes and ears open for an extremely wide variety of hazards.

This article is here to explore the most common ways people get hurt in the construction industry, the kinds of stresses they have to deal with post-accident, and what can be done legally to get the proper compensation.

Discussing Common Workplace Accidents:

Let’s analyze some of the most common accidents that occur on the construction site.

* Falling Accidents. When it comes to construction, there are often scenarios where workers need to negotiate elevated locations. Some examples include scaffolding, girders, building structures, and building exteriors. Falling from even a modest height can result in serious injury or death.

* Falling Objects. It’s not always the person that falls – many times it’s objects. During construction lots of material is being broken, put together, and moved around. This breeds a lot of opportunity for unsuspecting workers to get an unpleasant surprise from above.

* Equipment/Vehicle Incident. Most jobs involve more than simple hand tools. Complex construction equipment and vehicles provide a constant challenge for workers to both get a job done on time, but to also do it safely. As equipment gets older, the risks tend to increase.

* Exertion Injury. Construction work is often synonymous with manual labor. Any time extreme amounts of physical exertion are in play there is a possibility for injury. Examples often include lifting strain, repetitive stress disorder, tendonitis, and general body wear-and-tear.

* Chemical Incidents. Spills, exposure, and other unpleasant interactions with chemicals are a serious concern for many construction workers. There are often harsh cleansers, lubricants, and other chemicals involved in the overall construction plan of a job, and overexposure is not terribly uncommon.

* Fire/Explosion. Sometimes related to the chemicals cited above, fire and explosion is another reality of the construction site. High pressure equipment and volatile material can cause serious burns or worse to workers how are caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Results of Construction Accidents:

Just as unfortunate as the accident itself is some of the results that occur afterwards. Many people either do not see some of these issues coming, or don’t know how to handle them. Let’s analyze a few examples:

* Extensive medical bills from various injuries occurred on the job.

* Missed shifts and time at work, resulting in loss of wages.

* Reduced ability to perform work at the same level as before injury.

* Usage of personal days / sick days beyond those available.

* Negative pressure from bosses, coworkers, etc to either hide injury or report it in fraudulent ways.

* Shift work from full-time to light duty or reduced responsibilities.

Problems after an injury end to pile up, and it can be extremely difficult handling them, especially from a legal perspective.

Securing Proper Legal Counsel

It is important to get legal counsel so that you aren’t susceptible to the wims of insurance companies and construction firms. Unfortunately, general practice lawyers are rarely equipped to deal with the complexities of the large construction industry. Therefore it is important to locate a skilled construction law specialist.

It’s even better if you can find one in your area to reduce the costs of long distance representation (if it is even an option).

Construction Bill 2010 is Finally Here

Construction Bill 2010 has been sponsored by Senator Fergal Quinn with the purpose of addressing the payment problems and providing a streamlined system for payments on completed projects.

The current system allows for several disputes in terms of payments between the contractors and the employers on completed projects. The employers withhold payments without prior intimation and neither give any reason for withholding it. This has been unduly affecting everyone in this line of business. This bill also attempts at avoiding litigation which is long dragged for several years and everyone in the construction chain has been bearing the brunt.

The construction bill, if approved, becomes an act to regulate payment and certain other matter relating to construction business.

Contents Of The Proposed Bill

Contents of the proposed construction bill 2010 are the title, interpretation, information about construction contracts, exclusions to the contracts if any, definition of construction operation, oral contracts, obligation of the employer to notify in case he intends to withhold payments, referral of disputes to adjudication, contractor or employee’s entitlement to suspend work in case of nonpayment without notice and also specifies the process of serving notice.

The construction operations included in the bill are alteration, repair, construction, and demolition, and maintenance, installation of heating and lighting systems, construction of drainage and water supply system and cleaning of the buildings.

What The Bill Proposes

Construction Bill 2010 proposes that the employer needs to give seven days prior notice in case he intends to withhold payment and provide the reason thereof. The contractor can reply to this notice clarifying the matter and seek payment. If the employer does not serve prior notice and suspends payments, the subcontractor is entitled to stop the ongoing work for the employer.

In case of a dispute between the parties, the matter can be referred for adjudication. The process of adjudication has three levels.

Mediation: An independent party that can be recommended by the state or otherwise, mediates a discussion between the employer and the contractor in order for them to agree on an action plan and resolve the matter between them.

Arbitration: If the matter is not resolved at the mediation level, an arbitrator listens to the parties and suggests an action plan to resolve the matter.

Adjudication: If the matter is not resolved in the above two processes then the matter will be referred to adjudicator for dispute resolution. The bill specifies that the adjudicator must reach a decision within 28 days of giving the notice. In special circumstances it can be extended by 15 days.

Some highlights of this Construction Bill 2010 are exclusion of construction contract on a dwelling property, a property on which one of the parties to the contract resides or intends to reside, and inclusion of oral contracts.

Successful enacting of Construction Bill 2010 can streamline the construction business by ensuring a system for payments on completed projects and a methodology to notify the other party in case the employer intends to withhold payments by giving the details on the amount, and the reason for withholding. This bill will also be able to avoid the long dragged litigations and provide solace to everybody in the construction business from the contractor, subcontractor, employer to all the workers in the construction chain, especially those in the lower end of the chain that were affected the most.

Construction – The Root of the Build-Up

Construction plays a big role in the urban set up of our lives.

Be it the constructing of roads or buildings, construction is the basic root of the rise of the everyday needs.

Construction leads to the building of a house where we reside.The construction of roads that we use for reaching various destinations.

How do we get all these?

We get this from the hard work that these construction workers do day and night to build these buildings and roads for us to make use of.

As tiresome as this work is, there are a number of things that needs to be kept in mind if you want a fruitful and safe outcome of your construction ventures.

Here are a few rules to be kept in mind while doing the same

1. Inspection cannot be ignored

Inspection of the construction site is very important. A thorough review of where you’ll work for a number of months to build something safe for utilizing is very important. Go around the entire construction site and note down anything that meets your eye and tell you is not safe enough for the construction to commence. Do not sacrifice on the safety of the people or the construction for anything. Identify and make an analysis of any hazards or dangers that might cause hindrance in the construction process.

2. Never ignore training

Training is very important. Do not take any incompetent or untrained construction worker for work. Every construction worker should be trained and educated well on the do’s and don’ts of construction so that they don’t commit any mistake in the construction area that might cause any harm. These trainings should teach proper lifting techniques so as to avoid having any sort of injuries on the work front as it is very common in a construction job. In order to sustain in this field one must be well acquainted with these instructions very well.

3. Make sure the instruments are in perfect conditions

This is a very important step. Construction is completely dependent on the kinds of tools and machineries you use to build. Before beginning with the construction process, make sure all the instruments are in perfect condition. Do not use the tools unless they’re in working order. If they need repairing- do so and only then make use of them for construction. Always have an alert ear for noises and jerky movements – these are the signs of machinery not being in usable condition and that’s your due to get it repaired to avoid any hazardous accident.

Therefore construction is a very serious job and cannot be taken lively.

Safeties of human lives depend on it and one has to be very safe in its application.

So make sure to take these precautions and let people in construction know about these in order to maintain safety.

The 2017 Forecast of Construction Jobs

According to a recent Forbes Magazine article, the economy is slowly rebounding while the housing and non-residential construction sectors continue to grow. For example, multi-family apartment construction grew 14 percent and the annual housing construction rate was 1.2 million in 2016. Below introduces the economic outlooks for construction jobs and the construction industry.

Projected Economic Trends

Most economic experts feel that the general economy will continue to struggle with slow growth and limited consumer participation. A mild GDP growth rate is connected to low wages and productivity growth number. Although most companies are spending more on construction, they are reducing other capital expenditures for things like machinery and equipment. Most of these companies are not focusing on expanding capacity because they are lowering operating costs through minimizing expenditures. However, an important construction industry report states that 2017 construction starts will increase five percent to over $700 billion. As a result, the private sector will continue to drive non-residential construction projects across the country.

Excellent Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that construction labor jobs will continue to increase at 13 percent, which is faster than the national average. The job growth outlooks for certified carpenters is six percent, for building inspectors is eight percent and for electricians is 14 percent. Construction professionals are needed in all construction sectors, so these workers will enjoy better career opportunities. Job possibilities include project administrator, remodel supervisor, demolition planner, construction engineer, environmental consultant, heavy equipment operator and land development specialist. Other career specializations that will continue to be in demand in 2017 involve HVAC, masonry, drywall, painting, flooring, roofing and plumbing.

High Demand Fields

Residential construction of multi-family home buildings is growing fast, while single-family home growth continues to plod along. Changing demographic factors are driving the demand for more temporary housing rentals. Millennials are moving away from home or college to face serious student debt, but they require agile accommodations that meet their flexible lifestyles. The trend is to prefer urban cores with public transit and eco-friendly lodging that have been designed by construction companies with strong environmental credentials. Therefore, there will likely be more urban residential construction jobs available in 2017. When millennials start marrying and raising children, the need for suburban land plots and traditional housing may grow.

Nonresidential Career Opportunities

Nonresidential building construction is gradually improving through consumer spending, but Internet-based retail sales are growing at an annual rate of at least 10 percent. This means that many traditional brick and mortar retailers have been forced to close outlets, but this has created new renovation opportunities for alternative businesses. In order to avoid these harsh cost-cutting measures, many retailers are implementing creative marketing and product expansion projects to access new consumer markets. Strong Internet-based sales mean that warehouse, local fulfillment center and regional distribution center construction will continue to expand. Private office building construction is expected to remain the same with vacancy rates being matched by new startups and entrepreneurial projects.

Going Green

Global warming, carbon footprints and operational sustainability are still important advertising keywords for corporations across the country. More and more companies are realizing the public relations benefits of green building designs and construction. While the initial cost of going green is high, there are many social, economic and environmental for companies. For example, they can reduce their operating costs, improve the local quality of life and use their sustainability practices to engage consumers. Companies that want to invest in green practices and profit from eco-conscious consumers need construction professionals to retrofit existing buildings and engineering experts to design environmentally friendly spaces.

The 2017 forecast of construction jobs is good because there is strong demand for sustainability, residential housing and green commercial buildings. Readers can access career advice for the construction, engineering and environmental industries at webuild Staffings website.