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OSHA cites construction company for fatal wall collapse

Construction site accidents often involve several parties, including the general contractor, subcontractors and employers of workers hired on a temporary basis. Three different firms, including a cement contractor based in Connecticut, were involved in a construction accident that killed one worker and injured another.

The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently released its findings about the causes of the collapse of a retaining wall at a construction site in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. A portion of a concrete retaining wall collapsed, causing two workers to be struck by soil and chunks of concrete. The employee of the Connecticut-based cement contractor was killed by blunt force trauma. Another worker managed to escape, but he was struck by falling material and suffered a broken hand and possible broken leg.

OSHA said that the general contractor failed to maintain a safe workplace and that the retaining wall was not designed or approved by a registered engineer. OSHA also cited the contractor for failure to train workers on the site to keep a safe distance from the retaining wall. OSHA has levied a fine of $281,583 against the contractor.

Perhaps the most significant fact in this case is that the general contractor was not the employer of the deceased worker. Thus, the worker’s family can sue the general contractor for damages without being limited by the benefits limits of Connecticut’s workers’ compensation system. Anyone who has suffered an injury or lost a loved one in an accident that was caused by someone other than the person’s employer may wish to consult an attorney who is experienced in handling such claims. A knowledgeable lawyer can provide an analysis of the facts of the case and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages.

Source: Poughkeepsie Journal, “OSHA cites construction company in fatal Dutton site collapse,” Abbot Brant, Feb. 1, 2018

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