Colorado Springs Construction Accident Lawyer
Helping Injured Construction Workers in Parker & Pueblo
Construction is innately dangerous, but many construction accidents are avoidable. If you or a loved one was hurt in a construction accident, you may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses and non-economic losses through a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
At Clawson & Clawson, LLP, our personal injury lawyers in Colorado Springs believe careless and negligent construction companies, employers, and employees should be held responsible for the workplace accidents and injuries they cause. That's why we are dedicated to helping our clients collect the money they need and deserve.
Call our Colorado Springs accident lawyers at (719) 602-5888 to learn about our construction accident representation.
Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (CWHSSA)
The Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (CWHSSA) applies to federal and federally assisted construction contracts that are worth more than $100,000. In short, CWHSSA prohibits subcontractors and contractors from underpaying employees for working over 40 hours per week.
But the CWHSSA applies to more than construction worker pay – it also requires contractors and subcontractors to provide hazard-free, safe, and sanitary work environments for their employees. A violation of the CWHSSA may result in employee injury, sickness, or wrongful death. If you suffered a serious injury because a contractor or subcontractor failed to provide an adequate work environment, a Colorado Springs personal injury lawyer may be able to help you obtain financial compensation such as workers' compensation or personal injury damages.
Common Construction Accidents: "Struck-By" Hazards
According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, "struck-by" accidents are one of the most common causes behind construction-related injury and death. There are four types of struck-by accidents: falling object, flying object, swinging/slipping object, and ground level. These types of accidents are one of the four leading causes of construction worker death in the United States. OSHA reports that 504 struck-by reports were filed in 2007. In the same year, 311 American construction workers were killed. 26% of these deaths were caused by struck-by hazards; and 10% of all occupational deaths in the United States were the result of struck-by accidents.
Recognizing Struck-By Hazards
A struck-by hazard occurs when a construction worker is in danger of being hit by a moving object. For example, working below an elevated work platform creates a struck-by falling object hazard. When a crane lifts heavy materials overhead, workers are subject to the same type of accident. To avoid struck-by falling object injuries, employees should avoid walking below work platforms and never store heavy materials improperly overhead.
Other struck-by hazards might include:
- Using power tools to pry, push, or pull materials
- Grinding materials (creating flying object hazards)
- Using highly-pressurized machinery, etc.
- Using cranes to lift loads
- Moving machinery and vehicles
Fall Injuries & Construction Hazards
OSHA identifies four primary types of construction accidents. These accidents are called "The Big Four Construction Hazards" and include fall injuries, electrical accidents, struck-by injuries, and caught-in accidents. Fall accidents are preventable through safety training and equipment. Construction workers who work on scaffolding, ladders, or roofs that are elevated more than six feet above the ground are at risk of suffering a fall injury.
If a job requires workers to use ladders, etc., the employer should provide adequate fall protection. For example, different types of scaffolding should be used for different construction jobs. If an employer provides the wrong type of scaffolding, workers could suffer serious, often catastrophic, fall injuries. Other elevated jobs might require harnesses and other safety gear.
"Caught-In" Construction Injuries
A caught-in injury occurs when a worker becomes trapped between two objects. According to OSHA, 192 construction workers died in caught-accidents in 2007, equaling approximately 16% of all construction-related deaths. 5% of all work-related deaths are the result of caught-in accidents. Simply put, a caught-in hazard occurs when a construction worker is in any danger of becoming trapped between two objects.
Typically, this type of accident involves heavy equipment. To avoid caught-in accidents, workers should never:
- Work within the radius of a crane
- Work in-between a piece of equipment and another object
- Work in close proximity to heavy machinery
Caught-in accidents can also occur when a workers body part becomes trapped in smaller piece of machinery. Workers can avoid this type of injury by enabling disable guards on equipment. Workers should never place their hands, arms, or other limbs near moving parts of a machine. If the worker is wearing long sleeves, loose clothing, or jewelry, he/she should be aware of potential caught-in accidents. Employees should never use equipment or machinery that is missing safety guards or any protective feature.
Common Injuries: Electrocution Accidents
Electrocution accidents are another common source of construction accidents, injuries and death. As part of the "Big Four Construction Hazards," electrocution is responsible for a nearly 4.5% of all deaths in the United States in 2006. According to OSHA, 124 construction employees died from electrocution in 2006. Electricity enables construction employees to work, but it also poses a serious threat to employees' safety and wellbeing.
Simply put, electricity flows through metals, waters, soil, the human body, and other conductors. When power tools and other machinery are working correctly, the work will not come into contact with the electricity. However, damaged machinery can short circuit and cause the electricity to travel through the worker's body. Many electrical injuries are the result of damaged insulation, exposed electrical equipment, faulty wiring, improper grounding, power lines, and wet conditions.
To avoid this type of injury, construction workers should use personal protective equipment (such as gloves) to prevent electrocution injuries. Workers should always ground electrical circuits properly and avoid using broken tools, wiring, and electrical systems. Additionally, employees should always close electrical panels and use flexible electrical cords. If an employer provides employees with old or broken electrical equipment, he/she could be held responsible for employee injuries and death.
Preventing Construction Accidents
Construction accidents can be prevented. According to OSHA, workers with positive and cooperative attitudes can help prevent construction accidents. To avoid accidents, construction workers should plan their work as a team and look for potential accident hazards.
Every construction project has different hazards. Because of this, employers and workers must plan ahead for a safe work environment:
- Always wear a helmet if any type of overhead hazards exist
- Safety glasses and face shields can protect workers from flying hazards
- Reflective vests help vehicle operators see ground-level workers
Helmets, safety glasses, face shields, and reflective vests are all types of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). PPE should be used whenever a safety hazard occurs. Additionally, construction materials should be stored so that they do not fall on workers. All storage areas should be kept neat. Before moving materials from the storage area, workers should inspect rigging and secure the cargo. Additionally, crane operators should never lift a load of materials that is heavier than the machine's lifting capacity.
Contact a Construction Accident Attorney in Colorado Springs
Our firm offers comprehensive legal guidance and representation to clients. After an accident, you may feel overwhelmed by medical expenses, missed wages, and noneconomic losses. We can help. Our team of construction accident attorneys can provide the aggressive and effective representation you need. We have more than 100 years of combined legal experience. In this time, our lawyers have recovered millions of dollars for accident victims. Our Colorado Springs accident attorneys are ready to put our experience to work for you: give us a call and let us fight for the compensation you deserve!
To see what Clawson & Clawson, LLP can do for you, contact us online or call our office at (719) 602-5888.