Increased Construction Worker Injury Risk During Boom?

Construction worker injury stories are not uncommon. In early August, six workers were hospitalized after a serious accident at a Brickell construction site. The accident happened as a result of a crane malfunction that dropped a bundle of rebar. Tragically, the rebar fell on the workers and three of them had to be freed by rescuers. All were hospitalized with serious to critical injuries. Although the construction industry provides many jobs here in South Florida, it can be a highly dangerous occupation.

As we continue to see new construction all over Miami-Dade county, the availability of construction jobs hit an all-time high this May at 54,800 jobs. Additionally, construction jobs are up 3,800 from April, with 1,600 more workers than a year ago, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics records.

Some experts predict that construction will continue to grow after the coronavirus pandemic,  being that South Florida is positioned as a strategic trade hub between Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States.

Construction Worker Injury Risk, Employer Safety Standards in Question

While the South Florida construction boom is offering an influx of jobs, it is important to remember that construction can be a dangerous line of work. There were 101 fatalities in the Florida construction industry in 2018, an increase from 78 in 2017 and 2016 and 68 in 2015, according to the latest numbers available from the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics.

Construction Worker Injury

Employers with more than 10 employees are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to keep a record of serious work-related injuries and illnesses. There were three companies tied to both the construction project and accident that occurred on Brickell earlier this month. All three have a violation history with OSHA. The incident remains under investigation to determine the cause of the accident.

Resolution After Serious Injury

Florida construction workers’ on-the-job injuries are generally covered under workers’ compensation, but there can be various routes one can take in seeking resolution when a serious accident happens. For example, David Sampedro of our firm took on one such case after the Florida International University (FIU) bridge collapse in 2018 that killed six people and injured many others.

Mr. Sampedro represented a seriously injured employee of an engineering firm, who was standing on the canopy of the bridge when it collapsed. The injured victims and families of the decedents filed lawsuits against the company that helped design and construct the faulty FIU Bridge. In 2019, after months of litigation, it was announced that a collective settlement of $102.7 Million would be shared among the victims.

Our team also filed lawsuits against individuals who were associated with the construction of the bridge after our investigation found that some of the contractors and engineers may have ignored warning signs of the bridge’s risk of falling. Mr. Sampedro alleged that the companies rushed the project and ignored serious safety warnings.

Our team has decades of experience in workplace injury cases, including construction accidents. We want to ensure you or your loved one get the verdict you deserve when a serious injury at work happens. Call our team with any questions at (305) 662-6178.

 

Sources:

Litz, B. Hamacher (2020, August 5). 6 Workers Hospitalized After Being Hit By Falling Rebar in Brickell Construction Accident. Retrieved from: https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/multiple-people-injured-in-brickell-construction-accident-miami-fire-rescue/2273388/ 

Miami Today (2020, July 1). Miami construction jobs hit record high. Retrieved from:  https://www.miamitodaynews.com/2020/07/01/miami-construction-jobs-hit-record-high/

Larsen and K. Kallergis (2020, April 16) A safe bet: South Florida’s industrial market could boom after pandemic. Retrieved from: https://therealdeal.com/miami/2020/04/16/a-safe-bet-south-floridas-industrial-market-could-boom-after-pandemic/

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2020, February 25). Fatal Occupational Injuries In Florida – 2018. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/regions/southeast/news-release/fatalworkinjuries_florida.htm