The real estate and construction industries have been booming in Florida in recent years. While this is great news in many aspects, the booming industries have left the state a hot mess when it comes to workplace accidents. Many construction workers are catastrophically injured or even killed, leaving their families devastated.
Between 2007 and 2011, there were an average of 53 fatal construction accidents per year. In 2021, there were 76 fatal work injuries in the private construction industry in Florida, accounting for 24% of all fatal work injuries in the state. There were also numerous non-fatal construction-related injuries. These injuries ranged from minor cuts and bruises to more severe injuries requiring long-term medical treatment.
The Role of OSHA
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) plays a vital role when it comes to workplace safety. The agency promotes workplace safety and enforces regulations in the construction industry. OSHA sets standards that employers must follow to protect their workers from workplace hazards.
In Florida, OSHA has various regulations and safety standards in place for construction workers. These standards cover topics such as fall protection, electrical safety, personal protective equipment, and hazard communication.
Employers are responsible for complying with these regulations. They are required to conduct regular inspections, provide training for workers on safety procedures, and maintain proper documentation to show compliance with OSHA standards.
Despite these regulations, construction accidents still occur at a high rate. Because of this, it is essential for workers to be aware of their rights in the event of an accident.
How Workers’ Compensation Can Help
Workers’ compensation is a system designed to provide benefits to workers who are injured on the job. Most employers are required to have it. In Florida, construction companies are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for every employee, including contractors.
When a construction worker is injured on the job, they can usually receive workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits cover medical expenses and lost wages. If the worker dies in a construction accident, workers’ compensation can also provide death benefits to the worker’s family.
In lieu of workers’ compensation benefits, a worker may be able to file a lawsuit against a third party. In egregious cases, a worker may be able to sue their employer or a third party. This would apply in cases of catastrophic injuries or fatalities.
What to Do After a Construction Accident
After a construction accident, it is crucial that you take the appropriate steps to protect your health and legal rights. Here’s what you can do:
- Seek medical attention. Your health and well-being should be the top priority. Seek immediate medical attention for any injuries. Even if the injuries seem minor at first, it is essential to have a thorough examination.
- Report the accident. Report the accident to your employer or the site supervisor as soon as possible. This is often a requirement, and it helps create an official record of the incident.
- Document the scene. If it is safe to do so, take photographs of the accident scene. Document any equipment involved, the conditions of the site, and anything that may have contributed to the accident.
- Collect information. Gather the contact information of any witnesses. Their statements may be valuable later on. Also, obtain the names and contact information of your co-workers who were present at the time of the accident.
- Preserve evidence. Preserve any evidence related to the accident. This includes keeping any damaged equipment, tools, or clothing. These items may be crucial for an investigation.
- File a workers’ compensation claim. If you were injured while on the job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Report the incident to your employer and file a workers’ compensation claim promptly.
- Notify relevant authorities. Depending on the severity and nature of the accident, you may need to notify local authorities or regulatory agencies.
- Keep records: Keep detailed records of all medical treatments, expenses, and communications related to the accident. This information can be important for legal proceedings.
- Follow medical advice. Adhere to your healthcare provider’s instructions for recovery. Failure to follow medical advice may impact your ability to claim damages later.
- Consult an attorney. Seek legal advice from an attorney with experience in construction accidents. They can help you understand your rights and guide you through the process of filing a claim.
Contact Us Today
There has been a boom in construction in Florida in recent years. For the most part, this has been great for the residents and construction workers, but there are still safety issues that need to be addressed.
Construction companies need to be proactive and do their part to keep employees safe. If you have been injured in the workplace, Brill & Rinaldi, The Law Firm, can help you deal with the aftermath. We will help you understand your legal options, so you get full and fair compensation. Schedule a free consultation with our law firm today by calling (954) 876-4344 or filling out the online form. We have offices in Weston, Coral Gables, and Daytona Beach.