New York Attorneys for OSHA Violations

Construction Site, OSHA Violations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) exists to protect workers from employers, contractors and building owners looking to cut corners in order to save on time and cost. These regulations, when followed, make potentially dangerous construction work safe, and when these regulations are disregarded, employees and pedestrians become vulnerable to construction accidents and catastrophic personal injury.

If you or a loved one was injured or killed because of another party’s failure to comply with OSHA standards, you may be entitled to compensation. Given the scope and complexity of these regulations, it pays to have a personal injury lawyer by your side who is experienced in navigating the murky question of where exactly fault lies after a work accident resulting in catastrophic injury.

When pursuing a personal injury case for a workplace accident, it is important to understand that a violation of an OSHA regulation does not automatically make a defendant liable for the resulting injuries. However, in New York, in most cases, proof of such a violation can be offered as some evidence that the owner or contractor in charge of the site was negligent. As such, it is crucial to hire a law firm that is well versed in OSHA and understands when a regulation has not been complied with.

Block O’Toole & Murphy has won over $1.5 billion in successful outcomes for our clients in a variety of complex personal injury cases. A few of our most notable work accident results include:

  • $15,000,000 settlement in a wrongful death case for the surviving wife and children of an HVAC technician who was tragically crushed by an air chiller that weighed thousands of pounds when its hoist chains broke

  • $12,000,000 settlement for a crane worker who suffered severe damage to his internal organs and required a left total femur replacement after a 40-foot fall
  • $11,500,000 settlement for a union construction worker who suffered lacerated tendons and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in his wrist after he was cut by a defective saw with no safety guard
  • $11,000,000 settlement for a masonry foreman who suffered multiple pelvic and spinal injuries that required surgery when he fell through an unsecured hole cover at his work site
  • $10,875,000 settlement for a union laborer who fell and was impaled on unguarded steel rebar at a construction project in Brooklyn
  • $10,500,000 settlement in a wrongful death case for the surviving family of a 50-year-old union laborer who was unable to be saved after a defective saw kicked back and lacerated his neck
  • $7,400,000 settlement for a sheet metal worker who fell three feet while working on an HVAC unit, ultimately requiring lumbar surgery
  • $7,300,000 settlement for a laborer who had to have his right arm amputated during an attempted steel demolition in Brooklyn
  • $7,000,000 settlement for a worker who was struck in the face by a falling object, resulting in a permanent tremor in his left hand that destroyed his ability to work
  • $6,793,881 jury verdict for a union laborer who suffered serious internal and spinal injuries when he fell at his work site and was impaled by an unguarded piece of vertical rebar
  • $6,500,000 settlement for a union mechanic who sustained debilitating injuries when he fell 18-20 feet from a collapsed catwalk
  • $6,400,000 settlement for an ironworker in the Bronx who fell 30 feet after not being provided with appropriate fall protection
  • $6,250,000 settlement for a framer who fell nine feet, fracturing his cervical spine at the C4/5 level and resulting in complete quadriplegia
  • $6,000,000 settlement for a union waterproofer who fell 10 feet through a gap in the scaffold that did not have any foot planks in place
  • And many more successful results

Block O’Toole & Murphy was featured on the cover of the 2018 New York City Best Lawyers magazine in large part due to our successful results on work accident cases. Receive a free legal consultation by calling us at 212-736-5300 or contact us online.

Your Rights Are Protected Under The OSH Act of 1970

Your right to a safe workplace is guaranteed under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. When a violation is found, a citation is issued to inform the employer of the violation, set a time period in which it must be corrected, and propose a monetary fine. This violation should be addressed as soon as possible to minimize worker exposure to whatever hazardous condition triggered the citation.

When a citation is received, it must be posted in a place where employees can easily see it, either for three working days or until the violation is corrected, whichever takes longer. Even if an employer intends to contest the citation, as is their right, they must still clearly post it. Failure to do so is itself a violation.

Fines included on a citation must be paid within 15 working days. Any employers reluctant to put forth the effort to provide and maintain a safe working environment should remember that ” OSHA has a policy of reducing penalties for small employers and those acting in good faith.”

Investigations performed by OSHA are often very helpful in providing evidence that can be useful in a subsequent personal injury case. For example, these investigations often include taking statements (recorded or written) from witnesses, preserving physical items of potential evidence and taking photographs and videos. Part of our approach to handling significant workplace and construction site incidents for our clients is to immediately request the OSHA file, including its investigative materials and reports, and carefully review them looking for proofs to support our client’s claims. The statements offered to OSHA investigators also sometimes offer a preview of what defenses contractors will pursue in our lawsuit, allowing our firm the opportunity to plan to rebut those defenses early on. Understanding how OSHA works requires an experienced law firm like Block O’Toole & Murphy.

Most Common Types of OSHA Citations

OSHA released a report showing the 10 most frequently cited standards following inspections of worksites by federal OSHA from Oct. 2016 – Sept. 2017:

  1. Fall protection, construction
  2. Hazard communication standard, general industry
  3. Scaffolding, general requirements, construction
  4. Respiratory protection, general industry
  5. Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry
  6. Ladders, construction
  7. Power industrial trucks, general industry
  8. Machinery and machine guarding general requirements
  9. Fall Protection – Training Requirements
  10. Electrical, wiring method, components and equipment, general industry

Falls are far and away the most common cause of worker death and injury on work sites. Generally, OSHA requires fall protection on construction sites for anything over six feet, though requirements vary based on the exact job being performed. Some common fall protection equipment includes guard rails, toe boards, safety harnesses, safety nets, stair railings and hand rails.

A particularly dangerous subset of falling injuries are ladder falls. A major cause of these types of accidents is the ladder being placed on uneven ground, which is often the reality of working on a construction site. To illustrate why this poses such a danger, if you have a “28-foot extension ladder [that] is 1 inch off at the base, the top of the ladder will be 19 inches off of center,” placing anybody at the top of it in serious risk of a tip-over.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics once determined that “25% of workers injured in scaffold accidents had received no scaffold safety training.” Considering how prevalent scaffolding is to construction work, training in this area needs to be a high priority for employers. The most common causes of scaffolding injuries are: falls, scaffold collapse, struck by falling object and electrocution.

Powered Industrial Trucks, also known as forklifts, are used in all types of industries and workplaces, primarily to transport materials. They are powerful machines and capable of causing serious injuries if not used properly; there were 43 reports of fatalities caused by forklifts in 2016 alone, according to OSHA reports. The most common types of fatal forklift accidents are:

  • Vehicle tip over
  • Being crushed in between forklift and other surface
  • Being crushed between two vehicles
  • Struck or run over by the forklift

So many forklift accidents could be avoided with proper training and adherence to proper safety protocol – don’t let your employer make you just another statistic.

Block O’Toole & Murphy has handled cases involving all of the above types of accidents. Many of them also implicate other bodies of laws and regulations in addition to OSHA, such as Labor Law Sections 240, 241 and 200 and the Industrial Code of the State of New York. It is critical to select a law firm that is familiar with these laws and regulations, their potential interplay, and how they apply (or don’t apply) to a particular workplace accident case.

Personal Injury Law Firm in New York City

If you suffered a wrongful or negligence-related injury, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy are here to help. For a FREE case evaluation, contact us online or call us at 212-736-5300.

Serving the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Long Island and all New York State.

& Work Injuries

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Fill out our short online contact form for a FREE, immediate case review, or call us locally at 212-736-5300 today. The lawyers in our firm work on a contingency basis, so we do not collect any money unless we win your case.