Federal and state laws mandate that the construction industry follow a strict protocol to ensure that their sites are safe and free from unreasonable dangers. However, despite these health and safety measures, Massachusetts construction site accidents continue to occur at an alarming rate. Although the state bars many lawsuits against construction employers under workers’ compensation, other responsible parties may be liable for the accident. Liability depends on the facts and circumstances of the injury-causing incident.
The United States Department of Labor (DOL) specifies that four construction accidents often lead to the most serious injuries. Falls are the leading cause of serious injury and death in the construction industry. Massachusetts construction site falls often result from improperly constructed or guarded scaffolding or unprotected and unmarked ledges. Further, falls often result from defective ladders or falling debris that causes an individual to slip or trip-and-fall. Moreover, falls are more likely to occur during inclement weather, when surfaces become slick or obstructed. Additionally, unmarked elevator shafts and trenches often pose deadly hazards. Although some accidents are unavoidable, many can be prevented by following health and safety regulations. Also, injury by falling objects, electrocutions, and “caught-in-between”, accidents are the remaining “fatal four” most dangerous incidents.
Recently, a national news report described a fatal Boston construction site accident. Authorities responded to a call that two people were struck by a vehicle near a construction site. When they arrived, they discovered two construction workers trapped in a hole; sadly, they were pronounced dead. Witnesses explained that they saw a dump truck hit the construction workers, causing the men to slide across the hole. One of the men was run over by the dump truck an additional time. The Boston Police Department and Occupational Safety and Health Administration are working together to investigate the incident. They stated that a few years prior, two construction workers drowned in a trench when a fire hydrant collapsed. In that case, the owner of the drain company performing the job was sentenced to two years in jail for involuntary manslaughter.