A tragic accident occurred at a construction site in East Hanover, New Jersey on Wednesday afternoon. The incident occurred when a steel beam used to shore-up trenches fell onto a worker at the site, pinning him underneath. The worker ultimately lost his life as a result of his injuries. The cause of the incident is currently under investigation.
Despite being a vital part of the economy, construction projects often pose severe hazards both to construction workers and to the general public if precautions are not taken. Construction and pipeline companies must ensure that work is regularly and properly inspected. Each construction project poses its own unique risks and hazards based on the work being done. Risks that may present themselves during a project must be carefully evaluated before the job begins. Construction sites often have multiple simultaneous operations ongoing, all of which must be carefully planned to ensure the safety of all workers. Nearly 6.5 million people work at approximately 252,000 construction sites across the nation every day. The fatal injury rate for the construction industry is higher than the national average in this category for all industries.
One mechanism to safely evaluate and prepare for risks is through the use of a Job Safety Analysis (“JSA”) or Risk Assessment, which is standard in the industry. When this does not occur, it can result in catastrophic personal injury or death. In a JSA, each step of the job is examined to identify potential hazards and to recommend the safest way to perform the work in order to minimize those risks. According to OSHA:
A job hazard analysis is a technique that focuses on job tasks as a way to identify hazards before they occur. It focuses on the relationship between the worker, the task, the tools, and the work environment. Ideally, after you identify uncontrolled hazards, you will take steps to eliminate or reduce them to an acceptable risk level.
OSHA recommends JSAs be performed for all of the following:
• Jobs with the highest injury or illness rates;
• Jobs with the potential to cause severe or disabling injuries or illness, even if there is no history of previous accidents;
• Jobs in which one simple human error could lead to a severe accident or injury;
• Jobs that are new to your operation or have undergone changes in processes and procedures; and
• Jobs complex enough to require written instructions
According to a recent study, 12 of the 25 most dangerous jobs as measured by the rate of people who die at work are in the construction industry.
Trenching is one of the most dangerous construction activities. OSHA recommends the following:
- Keep heavy equipment away from trench edges.
- Keep surcharge loads at least 2 feet (0.6 meters) from trench edges.
- Know where underground utilities are located.
- Test for low oxygen, hazardous fumes and toxic gases.
- Inspect trenches at the start of each shift.
- Inspect trenches following a rainstorm.
- Do not work under raised loads.
Our experienced lawyers have handled personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits of all kinds and have the skills needed to represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives or those who have been seriously injured during a construction project. The experienced construction personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was a victim of an accident on a construction site.
Our lawyers have represented numerous workers who have sustained serious and catastrophic injuries on a job site as a result of the negligence of another party. There are strict and short time limits on making claims, so please contact us online or call 713-659-0257 or 877-678-5864 to learn more about your legal rights.