How Can Construction Site Fall Injuries Be Prevented?

Web Admin - Friday, July 26, 2019
Inverness constrution site injury lawyerSome occupations are inherently more dangerous than others. Workers in the construction industry face some of the highest risks of suffering on-the-job injuries; in fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that more than 20% of the work-related fatalities that occurred in 2017 were suffered by construction workers. Of those deaths, nearly 40% occurred in falls. 

Due to the risk of fall injuries at construction sites, OSHA has put a wide variety of regulations in place to help protect workers. Employers are required to follow these standards when implementing fall protection systems. The three most common systems used when a person is working at least six feet above a lower level are:

1. Protective barriers - Guardrails may be installed at the edges of walking surfaces or roofs, and the top rail of a barrier should be 42 inches above the surface where a person walks or works. A guardrail must be able to withstand at least 200 pounds of force.

2. Harnesses - A worker may use a fall arrest system that consists of a harness that is connected to an anchor point, and these systems must keep a worker from falling more than six feet or coming into contact with a lower level. Any snaphooks or connectors used must prevent a worker from becoming disengaged from the harness or the anchor point.

3. Nets - Any safety nets used should be installed as close as possible below a working or walking surface, up to a maximum of 30 feet below the level. Depending on the vertical distance below the working level, a net should extend 8-13 feet horizontally from the edge of the working surface. Nets should be regularly tested, inspected, and kept free of tools or materials.

Other fall protection systems that may be used include:

- Warning lines - A barrier made of ropes, wires, or chains may be installed around all sides of a roof to warn workers that they are approaching the edge of the roof or to designate an area in which workers are not required to use guardrails, harnesses, or safety nets.
- Hole covers - Any holes in working or walking surfaces, including skylights, should be covered to prevent a worker from falling into the hole. Holes should also be protected by guardrails, or workers should use safety harnesses.
- Controlled access zones - Certain types of work may be allowed to be performed in areas where traditional fall protection systems are not used. Control lines should be used around the boundaries of these areas, and only approved workers should be permitted to access these areas.
- Safety monitors - In areas where low-slope roofing work is being done, a person may be designated as a safety monitor, and this person will provide warnings to workers when they are acting unsafely or are unaware of fall-related hazards. This person should be on the same walking or working surface as other workers and be able to communicate with them verbally, and they should not have any other duties which distract from their function as a safety monitor.

Contact a Buffalo Grove Workplace Fall Injury Attorney

Workers who have suffered fall injuries at a construction site may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, and they may also be able to pursue compensation from any responsible third parties through a personal injury lawsuit. If you have been injured in a fall while working at a construction site, the attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you determine whether you are eligible to file a workers' comp claim. Contact our Barrington workplace injury lawyers at 847-934-6000 to schedule a free consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


Recovering Compensation for Construction Accidents Involving Falls

Web Admin - Wednesday, May 09, 2018
Palatine construction accident injury lawyerConstruction sites are dangerous environments, and it is important for employers, contractors, and construction workers to follow proper procedures to protect everyone’s safety. However, construction accidents occur for a variety of reasons, and they can often result in serious injuries. 

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), falls are the leading cause of death in construction accidents, accounting for 370 fatalities in 2016. Workers injured in construction accidents involving falls should be sure to understand their options for receiving compensation for their damages. 

Workers’ Compensation for Construction Site Falls

When an employee is injured in the course of their job, they are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, regardless of who was at fault for the injury. These benefits will cover the costs of medical treatment for a worker’s injuries, and a worker may also receive disability benefits that compensate them for lost income due to temporary or permanent impairment to their ability to continue working. In fatal construction accidents, a worker’s surviving family members can receive workers’ compensation death benefits, including ongoing payments to make up for the family’s lost income, along with compensation for expenses related to the deceased person’s funeral and burial.

Third-Party Liability for Personal Injuries

Construction site fall injuries can occur for a variety of reasons, including defective equipment (such as ladders or scaffolding), inadequate employee training, or failure to use the proper safety measures or follow the correct procedures. When a worker is injured because of this type of negligence, they may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the liable parties and receive compensation for their injuries. 

A personal injury claim may be brought against all parties responsible for an injury, such as the manufacturer of defective equipment or subcontractors who did not follow the correct safety procedures. A third party-liability claim not only allows an injured person to pursue financial damages, but they may also be able to recover compensation for the pain and suffering they and their family have experienced. 

Contact a Schaumburg Personal Injury Lawyer

Injuries that occur as the result of falls at a construction site can be devastating, affecting a worker’s health and well-being and their ability to earn an income for years to come. If you have suffered a construction site injury, the attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can work with you to ensure that you receive the proper workers’ compensation benefits, and we can help you understand your options for pursuing a third-party liability claim. Contact an Arlington Heights construction accident attorney at 847-934-6000 to schedule a personalized consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


Construction Workers Injured on the Job

Web Admin - Thursday, December 10, 2015

construction workers injured on the job, Illinois Personal Injury AttorneyConstruction sites are dangerous and the involved dangers—falling objects, electrocutions, and heavy machinery—can lead to substantial injuries. Workers who are injured while on a construction site may have several ways of recovering for the injuries they sustain, including personal injury lawsuits. If successful, these claims can be vital in helping victims recover from their injuries. 

Personal Injury Claim 

It is important to note that an injured worker cannot file a lawsuit against his or her employer. Instead, compensation for those injuries is pursued through a workers’ compensation claim. However, third-party claims are possible in certain circumstances. For example, if a subcontractor’s employee is injured while on site, he or she may file a lawsuit against the owner of the site or the general contractor. Third-party claims can lead to recovery for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages. 

Numerous individuals may be held responsible for injuries suffered on a construction worksite and include the following: 

1. The site owner may be held liable even if he or she is not present at the time of the accident;

2. The general contractor is responsible for hiring workers and ensuring that the worksite is safe;

3. A subcontractor holds similar duties as the general contractor; however, his or her liability is usually limited to a particular area of the site;

4. Architects may be held liable for design flaws; and

5. Equipment manufacturers may be held liable if their products are faulty or defective. 

Personal injury lawsuits arising out of construction-related accidents are pursued under a negligence theory. For a plaintiff to be successful, he or she must establish the following elements: 

1. The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff;

2. The defendant breached that duty;

3. The plaintiff was injured as a result of the breach; and

4. The plaintiff suffered damages as a result of the injury suffered. 

An important issue to be aware of is the statute of limitations—the amount of time a person has to file a lawsuit against those individuals claimed to be responsible. For a personal injury or products liability lawsuit, the plaintiff has two years from the date of the accident. A products liability lawsuit arises when a manufacturer makes a defective product. In a wrongful death claim, the lawsuit must be filed within two years of the decedent’s death. Critically, if a lawsuit is not filed within these time periods, the right to recover is (usually) lost forever. 

Helping Victims 

Construction workers often operate in environments that have an increased risk of injury. When an injury occurs, it may have been caused by the actions of another person. If you have been injured in a construction-related accident, please contact a skilled Illinois personal injury attorney today. Our firm represents individuals throughout the northwest suburbs in the communities of Schaumburg, Crystal Lake, Palatine, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, Buffalo Grove, Barrington, Arlington Heights, Inverness and Deer Park. 

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.




Trench Collapse Injuries in Illinois

Web Admin - Tuesday, June 17, 2014

illinois construction injury lawyerOne of the most dangerous jobs on any construction site is working underground in a trench during a variety of different projects. In fact, hundreds of workers are injured each year in trench collapse accidents, and, according to a report issued by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, over two-thirds of those injuries happen to workers with small construction firms (those with fewer than 50 employees).

Fortunately, workers who suffer those sorts of injuries do have options. If the injury was caused by a third party, the worker or their family may be able to pursue a personal injury or wrongful death suit against the party responsible. Alternatively, the worker may also have a worker’s compensation claim open to them for the wide array of potential injuries that may result from trench work.

Types of Injuries

Working in underground trenches can bring workers into contact with many different hazards. One of the most obvious is the possibility of the trench collapsing, which can cause broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and even death. However, there are other dangers as well. Workers digging trenches must be careful to avoid utility lines like gas pipes or electricity. If the company or the city did not properly inform the workers of the line’s placement, the workers could be at risk for electrocution or injuries from explosions. Additionally, trenches and similar underground work areas often suffer from poor ventilation. Without proper care to ensure fresh air for workers, they run the risk of suffocation.

OSHA Standards

Because of these many dangers from trench work, OSHA has produced a set of regulations that govern what steps companies should take to ensure the safety of their workers. In addition to preventing accidents before they happen, the regulations can also be useful in lawsuits for demonstrating that a third party, like a subcontractor, acted unsafely when building the trench. Some common safety steps that OSHA requires include:

  • - The use of trench boxes to prevent wall collapses;
  • - Utility mapping and soil quality testing prior to excavation;
  • - Air quality tests to determine the levels of oxygen as well as certain poisonous gasses;
  • - Inspections of the stability of the trench following a rainstorm;
  • - Proper safety barricades surrounding trenches to prevent worker falls; and
  • - A prohibition on overhead work in the areas above trenches.

However, those steps are just some examples of the precautions set out in the OSHA regulations.

If you or a loved one has recently suffered an injury from a trench collapse or other construction work, contact a skilled Illinois personal injury attorney today. Our experienced team of lawyers works with clients in towns across the northwest suburbs, like Schaumburg, Mount Prospect, and Crystal Lake, to help them get the compensation that they deserve.

About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

Construction Accident Safety Tips for Workers in Illinois

Web Admin - Monday, October 21, 2013

Chicago area construction workers face risks on the job daily. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupation Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), almost 6.5 million people work at roughly 252,000 construction sites across the country every day. The fatal injury rate for the construction industry is higher than the national average in this category than for all other trades.

Common hazards involving construction accidents include the following:

  • Long distance falls
  • Trench or scaffolding collapses
  • Electric shock
  • Failure to use safety equipment
  • Repetitive motion injuries

Ladder injuries are the most common injuring an estimated 24,882 people per year. In Illinois, construction accidents can affect anyone from those working on small-town residential construction site to those working Chicago high rise jobs.

Construction Safety in Suburban Illinois

Recently, a construction accident claimed the life of 59-year-old Marco Aguilar. It was reported by the Chicago Sun-Times that Aguilar was killed when he was struck by a Bobcat in Union, Illinois, located in McHenry County. The risks of Personal injury accidents in residential or city areas can be minimized with preventative checks in these common construction situations:

  • Scaffolding: Must be rigid and sufficient enough to carry its own weight and four times the maximum intended load
  • Falling: Guardrail systems with toe boards and warning lines, as well as safety nets or body harnesses
  • Ladders: Visual inspection for structural damage, bent rails, missing rungs, grease or other contaminants that could cause slips and falls
  • Trenching: Correct slope for the a height/depth ratio and install supports for trenches that exceed 20 feet in depth
  • Electrical: Safety gear such as the insulated gloves and sleeves and a hard hat can offer protection, but equipment should also be grounded and materials should be least 10 feet away from electrical power lines

If you have been injured in an Illinois construction accident, contact an Arlington Heights personal injury attorney at Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. DGAA has successfully represented those seriously injured in construction accidents or other unfortunate personal injury claims. We serve clients in Chicago, Crystal Lake, Schaumburg, Palatine, Des Plaines and many other Northwest Suburban areas.

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