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How does OSHA inspect construction workers' accidents?

Despite precautions and growing concern over the growing number of construction workers' accidents, the fact of the matter is that there were 798 construction and workplace deaths across the country in 2011. When workers are injured in construction workers' accidents, they have the right to file a workers' compensation claim with their employer. If the injuries are fatal and the injured worker succumbs to his or her injuries, their family members may be able to file the claim themselves.

When a work accident takes place, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration usually investigates the accident to determine the cause. North Carolina residents may be aware that OSHA is the agency responsible for holding companies and employers accountable if an investigation shows that the company violated safety regulations and if the accident could have been prevented.

In a construction site accident involving excavation, OSHA standards require that a competent person inspect the site daily and identify signs that may lead to possible cave-ins. This inspection is supposed to be conducted before work commences and as required while work carries on. An inspection is also required after rainstorms. Inspectors inspect soil type, environmental conditions, closeness to previously filled excavation projects, vibrations and weight of the machinery and soil type when looking at trenches.

After completing their investigation and determining fault, OSHA may decide to levy fines against a negligent employer. Many employers in North Carolina will then utilize an array of tactics to delay or defeat workers' attempts to hold their employers accountable . However, this should not deter North Carolina employees from filing a workers' compensation claim to bring attention to the accident and help prevent similar ones in the future.

Source: The Eagle, "Occupational Safety and Health Administration to investigate construction workers' death," Maggie Kiely, May 31, 2013

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