Common Causes of Construction Accidents in Miami
Miami is a city that is constantly renovating itself, and every day tens of thousands of our citizens go to work on construction sites. Their work is necessary for our city to move forward. While the work is necessary, it is also very dangerous. Construction workers spend their days sometimes hundreds of feet above street level. They work with heavy machinery in enclosed spaces. They repair roads at all hours of the day and night, often performing their jobs mere feet from cars that are moving at forty miles an hour.
It seems obvious that an insurance company would cover a worker who has been injured while on the job, but this is rarely the case nowadays. Instead of owning up to what they promise in their policies, many insurers go out of their way to reduce the value of payments or deny claims altogether. They are not only unwilling to pay the amount of compensation that is deserved, but they also claim that necessary medical treatment is “unnecessary”.
Here at Klemick and Gampel, P.A., we have seen this happen too many times to count. We have handled numerous construction accident cases on the behalf of injured workers throughout Miami during the years we have been practicing personal injury law. Here are some of the common construction site accidents that occur throughout the Miami area, and the reasons why they happen.
Construction Site Falls
Falls are the most frequent cause of fatalities on construction sites, and 300 workers are killed each year while on the job because of a fall. Many of the deaths or injuries that result from these falls can and should be prevented, and employers have the responsibility to identify actions they should take to prevent these falls.
Construction workers can fall off of roofs, cranes, scaffolding, elevator shafts, and other platforms. Falls can also result from holes in the flooring, and this is another reason why proper safety precautions are necessary! Workers can also fall into or onto dangerous machines that can lead to devastating injuries. This is why the OSHA requires all employers to keep floors in work areas clean and sanitary, and requires employers to provide personal protective equipment at no cost to their workers.
Roof Related Falls
Even the most experienced professionals are susceptible to roof-related falls. Roofers and construction workers who operate on roofs must continually be aware of the possibility of falling, and they typically work at heights that put them at risk for injuries if they fall. These injuries and falls can mostly be avoided with the use of proper safety precaution and equipment. Employers are required to determine take all necessary precautions, such as determining the structural integrity of the roof, before they let their workers work on the roof.
The OSHA just issued new rules regarding the requirements for cranes and derricks that are used in construction for demolition work and underground construction. These rules were created to make it easier for employers and workers to understand the standards required for working with a crane. When one considers that crane operators are specially trained to control enormous pieces of powerful machinery, it may seem that the risk for accident is small. Unfortunately, there are times when the use of cranes results in injury or even death. Operators can fall from their cranes, and cranes can also lose their balance and topple, resulting in injuries or death.
Scaffolding might be a temporary structure, but the integrity and safety of scaffolding is incredibly important. Scaffolding must be constructed according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and employers should require workers to install guardrail systems along all open sides and ends of the platforms. Construction workers spend a great deal of time on these structures, and all standards and safety precautions should be followed to the letter.
Improperly Assembled Scaffolding
Once scaffolding is assembled, dozens or even hundreds of workers may climb it daily to do their construction work. When this scaffolding is not assembled properly, many lives are endangered. Laziness, incompetence, hastiness or even innocent mistakes all contribute to this problem on construction sites.
Elevator Shaft Falls
Temporary elevators are often constructed during construction projects, and falling from an elevator shaft can be fatal. In order to avoid elevator shaft falls, employers should design and use comprehensive fall-protection programs. While there have been reported cases of individuals surviving elevator falls from dramatic heights, even a plunge of ten feet can be fatal. These safety concerns should be addressed by employers and subcontractors before work begins, and they should conduct regular safety inspections and training sessions.
Nearly every construction site poses a risk for falling objects. Construction workers must continually be aware of the possibility of falling objects and should wear proper protection gear, such as hard hats, to protect their heads and bodies. Tools, building materials, debris and other high objects can accelerate to high speeds while they are falling, and these objects can cause catastrophic and even fatal injuries. There are some instances where falling objects are accidental and no one is to blame, but employers are responsible to make the site as safe as possible.
Since the year 2000, there have been over 1125 Tower Crane accidents that have caused over 780 deaths. Cranes are used all the time in construction to create both residential and commercial buildings. Statistics show that 38% of accidents occur while the crane is in operation, and 31% of these accidents result from the climbing, assembly and disassembly of these cranes. Lighting, high winds, defective cranes, electrocution and other hazards associated with construction at heights are also to blame for crane accidents.
Hit by Operating Equipment
The construction site is an extremely busy work environment with heavy machines and many workers trying to complete the construction work under a deadline. Much of the equipment that is used, such as front loaders, weighs several thousand pounds and must be operated carefully in order to avoid accidents or collisions. Everyone on the site has a responsibility to look out for other’s safety, and it is up to the supervisors and foremen to promote effective safety practices. Uneven or soft ground can make it especially dangerous to operate this equipment and large buckets on the front of equipment can obstruct views.
Hit by Highway Vehicle
Accidents in highway construction zones kill more than 1,000 people every year and can injure over 50,000 others. Statistics show that construction workers who are on the job in a skyscraper are less likely to get injured than those who work on the road. Even though construction zones require cars to slow down, these cars are still traveling at speeds of 45 mph or faster. Construction zones are typically marked by signs, channelizing devices, pavement markings, barriers and other notifications to warn drivers and to keep workers safe.
If you have been injured in any of these situations, you must take action immediately to protect your rights. Our experienced team of lawyers can guide you through the legal steps required to seek compensation for your pain and suffering, so contact Klemick and Gampel for a free legal consultation today.