Every year, summer brings a boom in construction sites and projects, and with it, a boom in construction site accidents. Construction workers in Texas are performing the most dangerous jobs in the state with the most occupational fatalities, so it’s important to review safety standards and protocols every year and know when to talk with an Austin construction accident lawyer.
Common Causes of Construction Site Accidents in Austin
Construction sites are always hazardous workplaces, with a high risk of accidents and injuries due to heavy equipment, working at elevation, working with electricity and/or hazardous materials, and other inherent risks. Many of these accidents are so severe that they require workers to consult a construction injuries law firm. Here are some of the most common causes of construction site accidents to be aware of in Austin:
- Unsafe traffic and vehicle movement. Vehicle and equipment movement is a common cause of accidents and injuries for construction industry workers, but traffic is also an increasingly common cause of construction site accidents and injuries for members of the public. As the construction season ramps up, TxDOT officials are asking drivers to be especially cautious in construction zones.
- Trench and excavation collapse. Last year saw a sharp increase in trench and excavation collapses, with OSHA issuing 6-figure fines to construction firms in Austin and Dallas for trench collapse fatalities. This sudden spike in trench collapses has caused the Texas Department of Insurance to call for special awareness of trench and excavation hazards.
- Last-minute changes in work paths and processes. A recent industry study revealed that 71% of serious injuries and fatalities in the construction industry were related to last-minute changes. Particular hazards were last-minute changes in equipment usage and last-minute changes to planned work processes.
- Heat-related stress and illness. Construction workers are especially vulnerable to summer heat, causing heat-related illness and injury, especially in Texas.
If you or a loved one have been injured in these or any type of construction accident, it’s important to consult with a construction site injury attorney as soon as possible.
Safety Protocols on Construction Sites in Austin
During the summer months, it is especially important for construction industry workers and those who work in or near construction sites to be alert and stay safe. If you, a family member, or a loved one works on a construction site in Austin Texas, here are the best ways to stay safe and protect yourself:
- Review and observe existing safety protocols for your work area. OSHA has extensive guidelines for working at heights with ladders and scaffolds, trench and excavation safety, protective clothing and equipment, etc. Some unscrupulous employers may not abide by all the relevant protocols, so it’s important to understand the guidelines and protect yourself.
- Know the signs and treatment for heat related illnesses. OSHA has made a printable card to help you understand and react to the symptoms of heat-related illness.
- Know your rights. While there is no current federal standard for heat safety, and construction projects require near-constant adaptation to changing situations and unexpected conditions, employers are legally required to provide a safe workplace free of foreseeable hazards. Stand up for your rights, support your coworkers, and report safety violations.
Can I Claim Workers’ Compensation After a Construction Accident in Austin?
In most cases, injured construction workers can make a workers’ comp claim and recover medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses related to their injury. In the event of a fatal accident, workers’ comp provides compensation to surviving spouses and/or family members.
However, workers’ compensation laws in Texas are uniquely complex, and not all employers subscribe to workers’ comp insurance. If your employer is a non-subscriber, you do not qualify for workers’ compensation, and cannot make a claim. Instead, you may need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit in order to recover your costs and damages. Such lawsuits may take much longer to pursue and settle than a workers’ compensation claim, adding to the stress and challenges of recovery from a workplace injury.
If you have been injured at work, consult with an Austin construction accident lawyer right away. A qualified construction injuries law firm will help you explore all your options, fight for your rights, and recover the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident on a construction site or on the job, contact Aaron Allison. The Law Offices of Aaron Allison have been family-run since 1978, with a history and legacy of supporting injured workers in Austin.
Aaron Allison is one of the few practicing workers’ compensation attorneys in Texas and can pursue all the legal remedies that apply in your case. With free consultations and contingency fees, you never have to pay legal expenses upfront, and only pay legal costs when your case is settled favorably. Contact us today for more information.