Was employer negligence a factor in fatal construction accident?

Sep 18 2015

Workplaces have certainly become less hazardous over the years. Most office workers, for instance, don’t need to worry much about workplace safety. That being said, there are plenty of other types of work that will always be dangerous, including and especially construction work.

At a construction site, a clear hierarchy exists, and those at the top are tasked with ensuring safety compliance. Job foremen and general contractors must ensure that workers are wearing/using required safety equipment and following protocols. Even if some workers are not making personal safety a priority, construction accidents can still be prevented if those in charge hold everyone accountable for compliance.

There have been many tragic examples of what can go wrong on construction sites, including a fatal accident that occurred late last month. In Minnesota, construction crews are currently building a brand new, $1 billion NFL stadium for the Vikings. On a day in late August, a 35-year-old man was working on the roof when he suddenly fell five stories. He was killed in that fall and another worker suffered injuries.

In news reports, the victim’s employer seemingly tries to deflect any responsibility for the accident. One of roofing company’s owners said that they can’t ensure their employees comply with safety requirements. He said: “People do foolish things. They don’t hook up their lanyards.”

According to publicly available data, however, the roofing company’s safety record is not one to be proud of. In the past five years, The Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued nine citations to the company alleging violations of worksite safety. Some of those citations were related to the use of safety harnesses at elevated worksites.

If you’ve been seriously injured or a loved one has been killed in a workplace accident, employer negligence may have been a factor. Before seeking workers’ compensation benefits, it may be helpful to discuss your case with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can explain your rights and options.