Construction always seems to be underway in New Jersey. Whether it is road work, residential home projects, commercial construction, improvements, repairs and maintenance, the work is plentiful.
While this is a positive development in many ways, there are inherent dangers workers must understand. For example, they are tasked with trusting colleagues and employers to follow safety protocol.
Heavy machinery can be dangerous. Large transport vehicles are a risk for accidents. Those who are stationed at great heights are in jeopardy of falls. Being prepared is key, but that does not always translate into maintaining a safe workplace.
OSHA fines New Jersey contractor for safety lapses
In an example of the dangers construction workers face, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently fined a New Jersey contractor for leaving workers vulnerable to falls. The fines totaled more than $584,000.
OSHA bases its fine structure on the potential for falls and injury severity if they happen. They are categorized as willful violations and serious violations. Willful violations are if the employer simply did not adhere to the law or did not care if safety requirements were followed. Serious violations are when the lapse could lead to an incident that likely leads to severe injury or death.
The roofing company’s owner received 12 citations. Nine were willful; three were labeled serious. The inspection took place in July 2022. The inspectors saw workers 30 feet above ground without any protection in case they fell. Other issues were noted during separate inspections. The owner has had past problems with OSHA in which workers were not protected from falls. In the prior case, the company was fined nearly $250,000.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that nearly 5,200 workers lost their lives due to work-related accidents and illnesses in 2021. Of those, 951 were in the construction business with 370 occurring due to workers falling, slipping or tripping. In 2020, 82 work fatalities happened in the Garden State.
Injured workers need experienced help to understand their rights
Workers who are injured and families who have lost a loved one in construction accidents should be fully aware of the available options to be fully compensated. That could include filing for workers’ compensation benefits and a personal injury legal claim.
Although it is generally known that construction work is a risky occupation, that does not eliminate an employer’s responsibility to maintain proper safety procedures. After an accident, the entire case must be scrutinized to determine what happened and maximize compensation for lost wages, medical care and more. Consulting with qualified professionals can help with the entire process.