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Understanding construction injury issues

Construction injuries can range in severity from minor to severe or fatal, and many are due to the exposure of workers to dangerous conditions on a consistent basis. Various regulations and programs exist both in Minnesota and nationwide to improve safety awareness while limiting the potential for accidents in the construction environment. However, many incidents occur in spite of such precautions. Common incidents include falls, machinery accidents, electric shock and exposure to dangerous materials.

Liability can be difficult to determine following a construction site accident depending on the system in place for managing the work site. In some cases, the owner of the construction site may be responsible for any construction worker accident. This can be true if a potentially harmful condition exists where the work is taking place and the owner should have reasonably known of the hazard. A general contractor or sub-contractor may be liable if reasonable measures have not been taken to provide a safe work environment. This includes oversight of compliance with safety protocol. A prime contractor at a site may have a more limited focus, resulted in a more limited area of responsibility.

The design team for a project may be liable if an injury or accident is connected to design flaws that conflict with professional standards for their services. The manufacturers of equipment used at a construction site may be liable if a piece of equipment malfunctions due to a product defect.

In dealing with an injury at a construction site, an injured worker will first want to get medical help as needed and then report the incident to either the site manager or the employer. Preservation of evidence may be important in case of a workers' compensation claim denial. Specific questions could be referred to an attorney who practices in workers' compensation law.

Source: Findlaw, "Construction Injury Overview", August 13, 2014

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