Construction site accident highlights dangers of the industry
By Dean I Weitzman, Esq. on December 10th, 2021
In July 2021, an employer for a construction contracting company died while working at a construction site in Philadelphia. The company was building a distribution warehouse, and one day, the wall of the structure collapsed and buried the 29-year-old worker. To free the man, crews dug him out using heavy machinery. Emergency responders transported the man to a hospital when they removed him from the rubble.
After arriving at the emergency room, the man died from his injuries. The incident is under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The agency states that the company has no history of accidents.
Construction sites contain many hazards that result in workplace accidents and death every year. The industry ranks among the most dangerous industries. In 2019, over 5,000 fatal work injuries occurred in the United States. The same year in Pennsylvania, construction had the highest number of fatalities.
In the workplace, certain types of accidents are common regardless of the nature of the employment. They include:
- Strain or overexertion
- Falling objects
- Accidents by crushing or squeezing
The outcome of workplace or work-related accidents differs based on the nature and severity of the accident, such as:
- Loss of function of a body part
- Loss of a body part
- Broken bones
- Crash injuries
Injuries and deaths arising from employment-related accidents are subject to Pennsylvania workers’ compensation laws. Under state law, the exclusive remedy for a work-related accident is workers’ compensation. After a work-related accident, the injured employee may file a claim with the employer. To be eligible for benefits, the employer must receive actual notice of the accident within 120 days from the date the employee knew of the injury or the date it occurred.
Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance coverage that provides compensation for an employee’s job-related injuries or death. Under Pennsylvania law, employers must have workers’ compensation insurance. Employers have the option to have insurance coverage with the State Workmen’s Insurance Fund, a private insurance company, or an association or company with the authorization for workers’ compensation insurance. An employer also has the option to have self-insurance.
Self-insurance is workers’ compensation insurance coverage funded by the employer. The Pennsylvania Department’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation must approve the employer to carry self-insurance. The Bureau must determine whether the employer has the financial ability to cover and maintain self-insurance.
When an employer receives a workers’ compensation claim, it must notify the insurance provider. The insurance carrier reviews the employee’s petition and decides whether to approve or deny the claim. If the insurer agrees with the claim, the employee may receive wage compensation while out of work. They also get medical care and possibly disability benefits.
Failure of an employer to have any form of workers’ compensation insurance coverage may face civil and criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment. State law criminally charges the employer for each day that it does not have the required insurance.
Contact a Philly Work Accident Attorney
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