Many construction workers in New Jersey and around the country are seriously injured or killed in fall accidents at their job sites. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, falls are the leading cause of construction site deaths. Because of the risks, OSHA strictly enforces its safety regulations governing fall prevention.
OSHA reports that 937 workers were killed in construction-site accidents in 2015. Out of those, 350 workers died in fall accidents. Construction companies are mandated to have fall protection systems in place when they have workers who must work at heights. They must also provide their workers with safety gear that complies with OSHA’s standards.
Unfortunately, many companies try to cut corners by violating the OSHA standards. OSHA has been focusing on punishing repeat offenders. In late summer of 2017, a Florida roofing contractor was fined $1.5 million for repeatedly violating the fall protection regulations. Before President Trump assumed office, OSHA also used to issue press releases to shame companies that repeatedly violate safety standards. Since then, few releases have been issued, however.
Under New Jersey law, employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect their workers. In exchange for the ability to receive benefits when they are injured on the job, workers forgo the right to sue their employers for their workplace accidents. Workers who are injured at work may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits even if they were partially at fault in causing their accidents. In construction site accidents, there may sometimes be third-party subcontractors who are negligent and cause injuries to workers. When that happens, an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer may help an injured worker to file a claim for benefits with the employer’s insurance carrier while also filing a separate negligence lawsuit against the third party who was at fault. This may help to maximize the compensation that the injured worker might receive.