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Construction workers' accidents occur during demolition, too

In many cases, building projects here in Pennsylvania begin with demolishing another building, or part of one, on the site chosen for the new one. It is crucial that employers make the appropriate arrangements to secure the safety of those doing the demolition work to avoid construction workers' accidents. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides regulations and guidance in this area and also investigates accidents that occur at demolition sites.

In fact, OSHA recently completed an investigation of a demolition site after the death of a construction worker in another state. The company the man worked for was renovating a building. As part of the renovations, certain walls needed to be demolished. This included two load-bearing walls that collapsed, killing the 24-year-old man and trapping a woman residing in an apartment.

OSHA's report indicates that the South Dakota company failed to instruct workers to erect a temporary support system and conduct an engineering survey prior to ordering workers to demolish the walls. Had these two things been done, the man might still be alive. OSHA's report tends to support the contention of the victim's family that the accident was avoidable.

The simple fact is that many construction workers' accidents are preventable. Using the proper safety equipment, providing training and following protocols often reduces the chances of such tragedies. In cases where a Pennsylvania employer's part in an accident constitutes gross negligence, it may be possible to file a civil action against the company, along with others who may be responsible. An attorney can help pursue claims for workers' compensation benefits and discuss the possibility of filing a separate civil court lawsuit as well.

Source: insurancejournal.com, "OSHA: South Dakota Firm Ignored Safety Rules Before Deadly Building Collapse", May 3, 2017

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