Boston has seen a number of workers injured and killed in construction accidents and falls since March. The spotlight is now on workplace safety, but construction accidents – especially those involving multi-story buildings – can also endanger pedestrians, cyclists and drivers at street level.
We have seen these dangers before in Boston. In July 2019, a woman was seriously injured by falling debris while taking a morning walk in the North End. According to news reports, the investigation found she was struck by a railing a roofing company had failed to secure atop a 5-story building nearby.
Another serious accident happened back in 2006, when two workers on an Emerson College project fell 14 floors in a scaffolding accident. The construction platform fell, suddenly hitting and killing a doctor driving by.
As a pedestrian, you may not be aware you are walking past construction work. Not every project has signs or pedestrian protection tunnels. Some projects may be smaller than others, with just a few workers.
Unfortunately, you really have no way of knowing if a construction company is following safety protocols inside or on top of a building. Because of this, it is critical for construction companies to take steps and protect workers and the public.
Timeline: 2022 Construction Accidents in Boston
Worker Dies in Parking Garage Collapse. In March, a construction worker fell nine stories and died after a concrete slab collapsed in the Government Center Parking Garage, according to a NBC Boston report.
Worker Injured in Power Plant. On May 4, a worker was seriously injured under a floor collapse at the former Thomas Edison Power Plant on Summer Street. Nearly 100 firefighters played a role in the massive response, according to news reports. Two other workers escaped with non-life-threatening injuries.
Worker Falls in South End. On May 5, another worker was reportedly injured when he fell 30 feet at a construction site in Boston’s South End.
Truck Driver Killed in Construction Accident. One person was pronounced dead at a construction site in the Seaport District on the morning of June 9th. CBS News reported the victim was driving a truck which had been hauling large pieces of concrete. Another person was reportedly injured.
Construction Companies Have a Responsibility to Use Fall Protection
Under state and federal laws, construction companies are responsible for providing a reasonably safe work environment. Under OSHA guidelines, companies have a responsibility to provide working conditions free of known dangers, to keep floors in a safe condition; and provide workers with the proper equipment and training.
Falls are the leading cause of work-related death on construction sites, according to the CDC.
OSHA specifically requires employers to ensure employees have fall protection.
This applies to all workers, not just construction workers. Fall protection must be at least four feet in general industry, five feet in shipyards and six feet in the construction industry, according to the OSHA website.
Construction workers must have fall protections to support their assignments and machinery, regardless of how high up they are. Employers have a responsibility to provide fall protection for crane operators, just as they do workers on street level, though the tools and approaches will vary.
Depending on the assignment, fall protection may include safety harness and lines, safety nets or stair railings. Guardrails and toe-boards are additional tools to prevent construction site falls and injuries.
By taking these steps, construction companies can protect workers and prevent construction site accidents and injuries. By extension, this helps protect the public and pedestrians passing by as well.
A Responsibility to Protect Workers Against Struck-By Injuries
Struck-by injuries are the second leading cause of fatal injuries among construction workers, according to the CDC. These injuries occur when a worker is struck by a vehicle, equipment or a falling object.
Construction companies can reduce the risk of struck-by injuries by utilizing barriers to separate different parts of the construction site and to separate the work area from the public.
Free Legal Consultation – Boston Personal Injury Lawyers Who Specialize in Construction Accidents
Experience matters when you hire a personal injury lawyer. Breakstone, White & Gluck has over 125 years combined experience successfully obtaining record recoveries for our clients who have been injured by negligence in Massachusetts. We provide aggressive representation to workers, family members and others after construction accidents and premises liability accidents.