New York man dies in construction site accident, potential OSHA violation

Construction site accidents can lead to workers' compensation claims and third party liability suits.

A construction site worker died from injuries related to a fall while working at a New York job site recently. The man was working at a site that experienced issues in the past and was shut down in July of 2013, according to an article in The New York Times, due to unsafe working conditions. More specifically, an investigation revealed a failure to install adequate railings around floor openings. Whether or not a similar problem contributed to the accident that led to the death of the worker is currently under investigation.

Working at construction job sites can be dangerous. Regulations for construction sites are present that are designed to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.

More on OSHA regulations and floor openings

The United States Department of Labor's Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is the federal agency tasked with ensuring work sites within the United States are safe for workers. This agency reports that falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries at construction sites in the United States. As a result, a number of regulations are present for construction sites regarding fall protection.

For example, employers are required to use personal fall arrest systems, covers or guardrail systems around holes that are over six feet above lower levels. Additional requirements are present for the use of ladders and scaffolding systems.

OSHA also requires that every stairway floor opening be guarded by railing constructed in accordance with strict criteria. These criteria include:

  • Structure: Railing must consist of a top rail, intermediate rail and posts with a vertical height of 42 inches from the top of the rail to the floor.
  • Strength: The railing must be able to withstand at least 200 pounds of rail pressure.
  • Stairs: Railings used for stairs must range from 34 to 30 inches in height from the upper surface of the top rail to the surface tread.

Additional regulations address the use of toeboards, handrails and floor opening covers.

More on construction site accidents

Those who are injured while on the job are likely eligible to receive workers' compensation to help cover the cost of injuries. Although employers are generally shielded from separate suits through workers' compensation laws, additional compensation may be available through a third party claim. A third party claim could be available if a contractor, property owner or equipment manufacturer contributed to the injury.

As a result, victims of construction site accidents are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced construction accident lawyer. This legal professional will review the details of your case and work to better ensure you receive the full compensation you are entitled to.

Keywords: workers' compensation construction accidents