If you are one of the thousands of North Carolinians who work on a construction site, you know the importance of safety. From heavy machinery to falling debris, the potential for accidents abounds anywhere construction is happening. In 2016, 30 fatal accidents occurred in the private construction sector in North Carolina, more than in any other industry.
How do you know that your workplace is safe, and who is responsible for monitoring and ensuring your site complies with the standards mandated by law? Ultimately, responsibility falls to the employer, but contractors employ their own workers and may have little to no control over the site.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates safety in the workplace and enforces laws that specifically apply to multi-employer sites such as construction sites. Depending on the situation, contractors could be held responsible for unsafe conditions, but the “controlling employer” will always bear some responsibility for “reasonable care” to inspect their site and detect any violations. Most often, owners or operators of a site are considered the controlling employers. But other contractors are responsible as well and can be cited along with other employers for the same violation, particularly if one created the hazard and the other exposed workers to it. For example, if painters were seen working around exposed outlets, both the electrician and the painting contractors could be held responsible in addition to the controlling employer (the general contractor or owner).
OSHA rules apply to workplaces that employ 11 or more workers. North Carolina’s Department of Labor has its own Occupational Safety and Hazard agency (OSH), but its rules must be equal to or better than the federal OSHA standards.
If you have suffered a work-related injury due to unsafe conditions or any other reason, an attorney with a successful track record of litigating workers’ compensation and injury cases can help ensure that your well-being and rights take priority over the interests of those primarily concerned with the construction project.
The Lanier Law Group, P.A. has years of experience representing clients injured in construction site accidents and other work accidents and offers full-service support and strong legal advocacy. Call us toll-free at (855) 757-4204 or contact us today for a free consultation about your case.