New protections sought for temporary construction workers in California

Nearly 200 construction workers had a close brush with danger last month when a parking garage they were constructing in California suddenly collapsed. Workers were pouring concrete on an upper level and noticed something was not quite right. All of them immediately vacated the construction site just before an upper floor and the scaffolding collapsed. None of the 20 firefighters who responded to the call were injured either.

Some people are not so lucky as to escape harm during construction site accidents. While the construction industry is booming in areas around the country, too many employers sacrifice their employees' and workers' health and lives in an attempt to cut corners with various projects.

Some employers - while trying to cut costs - hire subcontractors or temporary workers in order to avoid certain wage and safety rules. When an employer violates a safety or wage law in California, it typically pays a fine only for directly hired workers. Unfortunately, according to a ProPublica study last year, temporary workers suffer a high level of work-related injuries and wage abuses and have limited means to recover from the company for which they are actually doing the work.

California legislators responded to the inequity by proposing a new bill that will protect subcontractors and temporary workers by holding the companies who hire them responsible when a person suffers an injury or does not receive the pay to which he or she is entitled.

Common construction accidents

The quick thinking of the crew working on the collapsed parking garage saved many workers from injury or even death that California day. Certain types of accidents frequently occur in the construction industry and one's awareness of them can help to reduce the number of workplace accidents. Some of the most common construction accidents include the following:

  • Overexertion: Whether by throwing, carrying, pulling or lifting items at work, overexertion is one of the most common work injuries leading to workers compensation claims.
  • Slips, trips, fall and near-falls: Slipping on a wet floor, tripping on an uneven surface or just catching yourself as you start to fall can all cause serious injuries. Broken bones, twisted backs and severe muscle strains are common with these types of accidents.
  • Falls from high heights: Falling from heights is a danger at construction sites. Whether from a short ladder, high scaffolding or a roof, a traumatic brain injury or death can easily occur.
  • Machinery, motor vehicles and falling objects: A construction site is fraught with many moving objects and people - each intent on his or her own piece of the puzzle. Entanglements in machinery, collisions with cars or equipment and falling objects can cause serious injuries if the workplace is not kept clean and orderly.

Help for injured workers

If you suffer an injury in the workplace, seek the counsel of an experienced workers compensation and personal injury lawyer. An attorney knowledgeable about workplace injuries can help you obtain compensation for your losses.