Citations filed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) against a New York construction company last month highlight the workplace risks that are prevalent in the construction industry. The company was fined $160,000 and cited for its failure to provide adequate fall protection and the failure to provide proper training to its employees.
Because construction site falls are leading cause of death in the construction industry –an accident that is entirely preventable – OSHA has been cracking down on construction site fall hazards with fines and citation. OSHA regulations mandate that constructions sites provide protection from exposed ledges and fall arrest systems. Equipment, such as harnesses and safety nets, can provide the adequate protection in the event of a construction site fall, but only if the equipment maintained and used correctly.
Scaffolding accidents are another common construction workplace hazard. In fact, according to OSHA, approximately 2.3 million construction workers, or 65 percent of the construction industry, work on scaffolds (temporary platforms) on a regular basis. By protecting construction workers who work on scaffolds, approximately 4,500 injuries and 50 deaths could be prevented each year.
Injured construction workers – including those who are injured in a fall or a scaffolding accident – are generally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Illinois workers’ compensation laws requires employers to provide injured employees with benefits, including medical/rehabilitative expenses, lost wages, and disability benefits if the employee is unable to work temporarily or permanently.
Moreover, injured construction workers may be entitled to pursue a third party cause of action if someone other than the employer was responsible for the construction accident. While workers’ compensation law prohibits construction workers from suing their employer for workplace injuries, injured construction workers may have a personal injury lawsuit against other parties who share responsibility for the accident, such as the manufacturer of defective equipment, the general contractor, or another subcontractor.
While Illinois law limits the amount of benefits you can recover in a workers’ compensation claim, an injured construction worker may be able to recover damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress and even punitive damages in some circumstances in a third party personal injury lawsuit.
If you have been injured in a construction accident, the attorneys at Ankin Law Office, LLC can help you get the workers’ compensations benefits and personal injury damages you deserve. Our Chicago construction accident attorneys will carefully evaluate your case and help you reach the fairest settlement with your employer’s insurer. Contact us today at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable Chicago construction accident attorneys.