CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENTS – FIRES AND EXPLOSIONS
HOW COMMON ARE FIRES ON CONSTRUCTION SITES?
Fires and explosions at construction sites are not uncommon. In fact, over 5,000 fires a year are reported at construction sites in the United States. The National Fire Protection Association(NFPA), reports that firest on constructions sites are among the largest fires in the country and lead to close to $200,000 in damages every year. When fires and explosions at construction sites kill or injure workers, a construction accident attorney in New York City can help you get back on your feet.
THESE FIRES AND EXPLOSIONS ARE OFTEN PREVENTABLE
Many of these fires are caused by the places heaters too close to walls, attempting to dry them to quickly, and sometimes the heaters are placed to close to flammable materials. When grinding, welding or cutting machines are paced too close to woodwork, fires can break out. Construction workers have also been injured or killed in fires caused by using blow torches to cut rust from storage tanks. Improper storage of flammable chemicals is another major cause. Many of these accidents are preventable, and construction companies are held liable for the deaths and injuries of their workers.
THE STATISTICS ARE SHOCKING
Close to 800 deaths each year are reported in the United States, and these statistics are going up as deregulations relax safety standards. Proper training, use of safety devices, proper maintenance of safety equipment and other safeguards would prevent most of these fires. If you’ve been injured in a construction accident, you deserve compensation, and it is also your duty to hold the construction company accountable, so that construction sites become safer places to work.
HOW TO PREVENT CONSTRUCTION SITE FIRES
Some simple steps can be taken to prevent fires and explosions at construction sites:
- Fire extinguishers should be available and regularly inspected.
- Dispose of flammable materials properly.
- No smoking on construction sites.
- Follow safety protocols strictly when using open flame.
- Proper storage of flammable materials such as solvents and paint.
- Regular inspection of power tools, wiring and electrical cords.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fire safety protocols that all employers are required to follow, including fire response and evacuation procedures. Failure to comply with OSHA procedures can give rise to liability for a construction company. To find out whether your employer is in compliance, call an experienced construction accident attorney in New York City.
Everyone who works on a construction project should be trained to respond properly to a fire, and everyone at a construction site should also know the appropriate evacuation procedures.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration – OSHA – requires all employers to implement workplace fire protection and prevention programs.
EXPLOSIONS ARE A MAJOR HAZARD ON CONSTRUCTION SITES
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that around two dozen worker deaths each year are caused by explosions at construction sites. Virtually all of these explosions were preventable! In additions to the deaths, there are scores of workers that have sustained catastrophic injuries from explosions at construction sites. These injuries include paralysis, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, burns and other life-shattering outcomes. When this type of tragedy strikes, a family needs the support of an experienced and caring construction accident attorney in New York City that can guide them through the process and obtain the compensation necessary to restore the highest possible quality of life.
WHAT CAUSES EXPLOSIONS AT CONSTRUCTION SITES?
The Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health, (ELCOSH) reports that almost half of the explosions on construction sites are caused by chemicals. Another 25% are caused by fires, and the leading causes are pressurized containers and arc flashes/blasts. High-powered explosives are commonly used to demolish buildings, and even a small mistake can have catastrophic consequences. The use of temporary electrical systems at construction sites, when not done perfectly, can expose power lines, setting off explosions.
WHAT TYPES OF COMPENSATION ARE AVAILABLE FOR CONSTRUCTION WORKERS INJURED BY FIRES AND EXPLOSIONS
The first step is to establish eligibility for Workers Compensation. All that needs to be done is to show that the worker was injured in the course and scope of their employment, no negligence or fault needs to be proven for eligibility. Workers Compensation will usually pay for the medical bills and lost earnings pretty quickly. Workers Compensation will almost pay out a small amount of money for temporary or permanent disability. Under the “exclusive remedy” provision of Workers Compensation, a worker cannot sue their employer for negligence, but there are many exceptions, especially for dangerous work and for construction work that can be investigated by an experienced construction accident attorney in New York City, that can more fully compensate victims. The Workers Compensation law itself present an exception for workers that sustain a “grave injury,” which would likely apply to the catastrophic injuries caused by fires and explosions.
If the fire or explosion was caused by somebody other than the employer, a lawsuit for negligence can be made. For example, contractors, subcontractors and property owners might be sued.
If the fire or explosion was caused by a design or manufacturing defect, the manufacturer, distributor and/or retailer of this product can be held liable. For example, the fire was not put out promptly due to a defective fire extinguisher.
LABOR LAW – THE SCAFFOLD LAW
There are labor law provisions that allow construction workers to sue their employer. For example is the accident was due to an “unsafe worksite” or even partially caused by a defective safety device when working at an elevation.
HOW A CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT ATTORNEY IN NEW YORK CITY CAN HELP
When there are serious or catastrophic injuries, it is crucial to collect the maximum amount of compensation for victims. Construction accidents are particularly complicated and there are many overlapped claims that must be simultaneously investigated: Workers Compensation, Labor Law, Product Liability and OSHA violations. This requires the highest quality firm with a team of lawyers with the experience to get the job done right. Wittenstein & Wittenstein has been handling construction accident cases for generations, and we also provide the type of warm and caring service that will guide your family through the process with a minimum of stress.
Please feel free to call us for a free consultation at 718-261-8114. You’ll be glad you did!