///Investigating Construction Site Accidents

Investigating Construction Site Accidents

Many people remember the incident of the Mast Climbing Platform Collapse in Austin, Texas in June of 2009, when three construction employees of Capoera Construction were killed when a mast climbing platform collapsed at a condominium project under construction.

When incidents like these occur, and they result in one or more worker fatalities (and sometimes multi-million dollar property loss, lawsuits, and/or settlements), investigations are typically performed at the request of an OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) field office as part of an enforcement inspection. The reports that come out of these investigations typically contain professional opinions from the investigating engineer, opinions concerning the root cause of the incident, and factual data and findings.

However, the incident does not have to involve fatalities: For example, just recently, the federal agency started investigating two construction companies after a roof collapse injured several workers. OSHA is charged with determining how the incident could have occurred and what needs to be done to prevent it from occurring again. If violations of OSHA standards are found, the agency then issues citations and monetary penalties.

Construction worked on scaffolding

OSHA Construction Regulations

When it comes to general safety and health provisions, OSHA has a number of requirements for construction site employers in order to ensure that workers are safe. Those requirements pertain to:

  • Safety training and education;
  • Recording and reporting of injuries;
  • First aid and medical attention;
  • Fire protection and prevention;
  • Sanitation;
  • Personal protective and lifesaving equipment;
  • Acceptable certifications;
  • Employee emergency action plans;
  • Occupational noise exposure;
  • Gases, vapors, fumes, dusts, and mists;
  • Ventilation;
  • Process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals;
  • Inspections;
  • Illumination;
  • Hazard communication;
  • Requirements for particular substances, such as methylenedianiline, lead, and others;
  • Occupational foot protection;
  • Electrical protective equipment;
  • Head protection;
  • Hearing, eye, and face protection;
  • Respiratory protection;
  • Safety belts, lifelines, and lanyards;
  • Safety nets; and more.

If There has Been an Incident

If you are involved in an incident at your workplace, consider following these steps:

  • Administer first aid or call 911 for emergency care.
  • Ensure that local law enforcement has been notified of the situation;
  • Secure the area, preserve the scene as is;
  • Collect information and preserve evidence (include basic information such as the address/location, any immediate safety concerns, the status of everyone involved, etc.); and
  • Interview work colleagues and witnesses (include basic information such as location at time of incident, chronology of what happened, observations not just of occurrences but statements, any injuries sustained and/or observed, any evidence collected, such as cell phone pictures or videos, etc.).

Were You Hurt on the Job in Houston?

If you were injured on a construction site in Houston or a surrounding area, our work injury lawyers can help. We investigate every detail related to the incident and determine what circumstances gave rise to any injuries and/or deaths involved. Contact one of our experienced work-related injury and wrongful death attorneys immediately to ensure that your rights are protected.