New Jersey construction workers are employed in a dangerous field. In 2014, one in five U.S. workplace deaths were in the construction industry. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires that companies follow certain safety protocols, but failure to follow these rules is common. According to OSHA, the most common safety violations don’t change much from year to year.
Falls are the number one cause of construction workplace deaths, and OSHA says that violations of fall protection rules are the most common safety violations in the industry. In addition, training in safety protocols, including fall protection, is lacking.
Violations involving eye and face protection rank after fall protections and training on the list of most common federal OSHA violations. Head protection violations are slightly less common, but rank just behind eye and face protection violations. The top ten list is rounded out by protections involving scaffolds and roof fall protection. Companies that violate OSHA construction standards can be fined up to $12,471 for serious violations, which represents a fine increase that went into effect in August 2016. Repeat or willful violations can be the subject of fines of up to $124,709.
While OSHA works to increase the safety of workers in construction and other industries, employees are also protected by workers’ compensation. The law requires most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Under this program, workplace injuries are covered even if the accident was the worker’s own fault. While the claims process is not particularly complex, it is time-sensitive, and many injured workers obtain the assistance of an attorney to ensure that the claim is complete and filed on a timely basis.