February 22, 2010

Two Construction Workers Seriously Injured in Scaffolding Collapse

Two men sustained serious injuries after the scaffolding they were standing on collapsed, according to a recent report. The construction accident occurred in the 3900 block of 48th Avenue South in Seattle's Mount Baker neighborhood. The two men were taken to Harborview Medical Center. One of the victims was listed in serious condition while the other was in satisfactory condition. Officials are looking into what caused the accident. The men were apparently construction workers who were working on a house in the area.

As a skilled Washington personal injury attorney, Kirk Bernard is familiar with how falls from scaffolds are one of the main causes of Washington construction accidents. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that more than 2 million construction workers operate on scaffolds each year. In addition, OSHA estimates that protecting these workers from scaffold-related accidents would prevent 4,500 injuries and 50 deaths every year. However, not all construction companies or contractors follow the safety standards and procedures that are meant to keep workers safe on scaffolds. These are injuries and deaths, which can be easily prevented.

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February 8, 2010

Be Safe with Scaffolds - Kirk Bernard's 7 Construction Safety Tips

Falls from scaffolds are one of the main causes of Washington construction accidents. When a worker is on a scaffold, a number of things could go wrong. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that more than 2 million construction workers work on scaffolds each year. In addition, OSHA estimates that protecting these workers from scaffold-related accidents would prevent 4,500 injuries and 50 deaths every year.

As a skilled Seattle personal injury attorney, Kirk Bernard knows that some of the most common hazards include falls from elevation due to lack of fall protection; scaffold collapse; being struck by falling tools or object; and electrocution because of the proximity of the scaffold to overhead power lines. If you work on scaffolds, here are the top 7 safety tips:

  1. Make sure that a competent person has inspected the scaffold before you work on it.

  2. Wear protective gear, including a hard hat whether you are working on or under a scaffold.

  3. Use a personal fall arrest system such as a harness.

  4. Wear sturdy shoes with non-slip soles.

  5. Always use common sense and move slowly and carefully. If you are not sure if a scaffold is safe, talk to a supervisor.

  6. Never overload a scaffold or hit a scaffold with anything heavy such as truck or forklift.

  7. Use an outdoor scaffold in stormy or windy weather or if it is covered with ice or snow.

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February 2, 2010

OSHA Program Raises Awareness For Underreporting of Workplace Accidents and Injuries

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has begun a one-year national emphasis program on record keeping to assess the accuracy of injury and illness data recorded by employers. OSHA's move comes after recent studies show that employers have been underreporting injuries relating to construction accidents, industrial accidents and other workplace incidents. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 mandates the U.S. Department of Labor to collect and compile numbers about the extent of workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths in the country. OSHA regulations also require employers to maintain accurate records with regard to such information.


This is an important step taken by OSHA because record keeping helps identify what factors cause these injuries and fatalities. This data and information helps address those issues and make sure that steps are taken to prevent such incidents. There were disturbing reports recently that employers intimidate, harass or retaliate against workers who reported injuries or illnesses or complained against safety hazards. This is unacceptable. If employers are not following safety standards, they should be reported. Cover-ups of any kind should not be tolerated. Workers who are injured should not quietly accept whatever settlement their employer gives them. If you were injured in a Washington construction accident or were injured on-the-job, please understand that you have rights.

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January 28, 2010

Construction Worker Crushed to Death by Piece of Heavy Concrete

A Washington state construction worker was fatally injured by a large, heavy piece of concrete on a construction site recently. The worker was trying to remove a collapsed column with an excavator. Part of the column broke loose and crushed the cab of the excavator. That piece alone weighed about 18,000 pounds. Investigators from OSHA are trying to figure out how the piece of concrete broke loose and fell.

Construction site accidents, especially those that involve falling objects, can cause devastating injuries or deaths. Very often, workers get hit by falling objects at construction sites. Construction sites are inherently dangerous because of the presence of heavy columns, steel bars, scaffolds and trenches. There is danger lurking in each and every corner. That is why it is critical that builders and contractors follow safety standards mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The tragedies, which occur at Washington construction sites, can be prevented by following the safety standards spelled out by state and federal regulatory agencies.

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January 25, 2010

Construction Worker Dies As a Result of Equipment Malfunction

A recent news article reports that a 53-year-old Washington construction worker was killed when he and another employee were installing an electrical line at a shopping center. The accident happened when their bucket truck failed. The worker was thrown from the bucket and struck the truck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Washington State construction site accidents have the potential to result in debilitating injuries or even death. Where serious or catastrophic injuries are involved, construction workers and their families come under tremendous emotional and financial strain. In many cases, families lose their primary wage-earner or sole breadwinner, which puts them in quite a tough predicament. Still, the fact remains that a majority of Seattle construction site accidents, which lead to such tragedies, can be easily prevented and avoided by following safety standards. Sometimes, these tragedies are also caused by defective products and equipment malfunctions. Equipment failure can happen because of a manufacturing defect or because it was poorly maintained. If maintenance is the issue, the injured worker or his family could file a claim against the contractor or sub-contractor in charge of maintenance. If the malfunction was caused by a product defect, the worker or his family can file a third-party claim against the manufacturer of the defective product.

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January 5, 2010

Nail Guns Can Cause Serious Construction Site Injuries

A Washington construction site can pose numerous dangers to a worker. One of the less-talked-about dangers in construction sites involves nail guns. There was a recent news report about a construction worker who miraculously survived a nail that went through his heart. The accident occurred when he was in the middle of a construction job. The nail gun bounced off a ladder and the worker's hand slipped and hit the trigger. He was taken to a hospital where surgeons opened his chest cavity and removed the nail. Doctors said that he might have bled to death had someone pulled out the nail instead of getting him to the hospital first.

Nail gun injuries have been steadily increasing over the last five years. According to a recent study, 42,000 people – more than 100 a day – show up in the nation's hospital emergency departments annually with nail gun injuries. Treating these wounds reportedly costs the United States at least $338 million a year in emergency medical care, rehabilitation and workers’ compensation, according to an estimate by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Accidental discharge and defective nail guns, which suddenly begin to shoot out nails, cause a majority of injuries at construction sites. If you have suffered a nail gun injury as a result of someone else's negligence or as the result of a defective product, you may be entitled to compensation.

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December 29, 2009

Washington Fatal Construction Accident

A construction worker was killed at a work site on Guemes Island, according to a KIRO TV news report. The accident reportedly occurred when an 1,800-square-foot home fell off its foundation and crushed one of the workers to death. Six workers were lowering the house in order to comply with building codes, when the house slipped. Five of the workers apparently, were able to escape, but one worker was killed after being trapped and crushed by pieces of the structure.

A majority of construction accidents are caused by falling objects. Many of these involve catastrophic injuries or death because of the nature of such accidents. However, the sad truth is that most of these accidents are entirely preventable. The big question in such cases is whether the construction company or contractor was following all federal and state construction safety standards. In this case, were all the workers trained to perform the job they were doing? Did they follow all safety procedures? Were they being properly supervised? Was this accident the result of someone else's negligence or a defective product?

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December 21, 2009

Construction Worker Injured after Losing Control of Steam Roller

Washington construction site accidents often occur because workers lack the training and education that is necessary to do their jobs. Not having the tools or training to do your job can cause devastating injuries and tragedy. According to a news report, a construction site worker recently sustained injuries after he had to jump off a steam roller, which went out of control. Officials say they believe the worker steered the machine incorrectly while working on a new roadway. The man apparently lost control of the steam roller used for paving the roads and it rolled down a hill. Thankfully, the worker did not suffer life-threatening injuries and no one else was injured. He was transported to an area hospital for treatment of his injuries.

In such cases, accidents may be avoided by making sure that workers have the appropriate training and supervision needed to safely perform a job. This is especially true when it comes to operating heavy machinery. If it is determined that a construction worker was injured as a result of defective or malfunctioning machinery, he or she can file a third-party claim against the manufacturer of the defective product seeking compensation for medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering and other related damages.

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December 14, 2009

Construction Worker Fatally Injured after Embankment Collapses

Washington construction site accident can result in serious if not catastrophic or fatal injuries. A lot of construction accidents in Washington State and elsewhere in the country occur because of trench collapses in the construction site. A recent construction site fatality was caused by a loose embankment. This incident caused the death of a 27-year-old worker. The embankment reportedly gave way, burying the worker. The injuries he sustained proved fatal.

Officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are apparently investigating how and why this embankment collapsed. They should inspect the construction site for safety violations, verify whether this worker had sufficient training to do his job and also whether he was being properly supervised. OSHA must also look into how well the embankment was secured before the man began work and the contractor's prior history to check if OSHA had investigated them in the past.

OSHA investigations typically take up to six months. But, if you or a loved one has been injured in a Washington construction site accident, it definitely, would not be advisable for you to wait that long before contacting an experienced construction accident lawyer. What many workers and their families do not realize is that employers are constantly protecting themselves, thanks to their team of insurers and attorneys who watch their backs. But, who is looking out for the victim? Who's watching your back?

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December 1, 2009

Wenatchee Construction Site Takes Exemplary Safety Precautions

Construction workers have one of the most dangerous jobs in our nation. A recent wenatcheeworld.com report emphasizes this point as it discusses safety precautions at a Central Washington Hospital construction site. According to the article, the M.A. Mortenson Company project supervisor of the five-story building leads a crew of about 50 workers in stretching exercises to help prevent muscles from being pulled or strained. In addition to getting the workers warmed-up so that they aren’t injured while working in weather as low as 32 degrees, the project supervisor also warned the crew to be cautious of slippery conditions on the site resulting from the cooler weather.

The exercises these construction workers do stem from Mortenson’s Zero Injury safety program, which began in 1995. Based on the article, before this safety program was implemented, the company had a higher than average injury rate. Now however, the company has a lower than average industry injury rate. In fact, it recently broke the million mark for man-hours worked without any injuries occurring and resulting in lost work days. This number includes over 36,000 injury-free man-hours on the Central Washington Hospital site.

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November 20, 2009

Kirk Bernard's Tips on How to Protect Yourself from Typical Construction Site Injuries

As a construction accident attorney, Kirk Bernard is aware that when working on a construction site in the state of Washington, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from a construction site injury. Being aware of your surroundings and potential danger is the first step to avoid suffering an injury in a Seattle construction accident.

Make sure you wear appropriate personal protective equipment. Don’t, for example, show up at a construction site wearing thin-soled shoes. Nails could easily penetrate your shoes. Always wear a hard hat in designated areas. Tools could fall on your head, you could fall from a ladder or you could fall from a roof. Protect your head from potential head and brain injuries.

For more information regarding how you can help protect yourself against construction accident injuries, read the entire article.

November 20, 2009

Kirk Bernard Discusses Aftermath of Construction Wrongful Death Accidents in Washington

The death of a loved one can have a devastating impact on surviving family members. During this time of grief, it’s difficult to think of anything else except the loss of that special person.

But after the grieving ends, what is there to do about the ones who caused the death? Did the construction site employers, contractors and/or subcontractors fail to provide a safe environment for the loved one? Did that failure cause the accident that led to the death of the loved one?

Wrongful death can arise as a result of construction site accidents in Seattle. Wrongful death occurs when a person’s reckless or negligent actions result in the death of another. Wrongful death attorney Kirk Bernard knows that in order to win a wrongful death lawsuit, the following must be proven: defendant had a duty to the decedent; defendant breached that duty; death was caused by defendant’s breach of that duty; and the survivors have suffered damages as a result of the loss and death of the decedent.

To learn more about the aftermath of a construction accident wrongful death, read the full article here.

November 6, 2009

Kirk Bernard Reveals 9 Common Causes of Construction Accidents

Taking into account that there are multiple reasons why a construction accident may occur, a recent Ezines article by Kirk Bernard reveals the 9 most common causes of these often catastrophic incidents. In discussing the most frequently seen events that lead to a construction accident, Seattle personal injury attorney Kirk Bernard addresses how negligence leading to serious injuries on a construction site may involve misuse of equipment and tools, unsafe work areas, and failure to use protective gear.

The article is a means to help keep construction companies and workers aware of common accidents and injuries that they can avoid by maintaining a safe working environment and adhering to proper regulations and procedures. To learn more about the 9 most common causes of construction accidents and how they can be prevented, please refer to the full article.

March 31, 2009

Microsoft’s Redmond Campus Construction Accident Kills Worker

The seattletimes.com website reported in an article on February 19, 2009 that an ironworker was crushed to death at a construction site on the Microsoft Redmond campus at 4480 154th Place Northeast, off 156th Avenue Northeast. According to witness reports, the ironworker was attempting to set a rebar formation that had just been cut from a crane into cement when it fell onto him. The iron worker was tied to the rebar formation when a support gave way underneath him. An ironworker who was helping guide the rebar escaped unscathed.

Jim Boye, Redmond police spokesman, said, “The crane operator is devastated. He witnessed the whole thing."

CPR attempts, as well as the use of a defibrillator, were all useless, and the ironworker was pronounced dead at the scene.

Work at the construction site has come to a standstill while the Washington work related death is investigated.

Construction sites are dangerous by nature; however, there are certain factors that increase that inherent hazard. One of the leading causes of construction related deaths is being struck by objects. About 75 percent of struck by fatalities involve heavy equipment used in construction work such as trucks or cranes. According to Department of Labor statistics, the number of workers fatally struck by a vehicle was at a seven-year high in 1998.

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September 18, 2008

Construction Worker Injured on the Job

While working in a trench Tuesday afternoon, a construction worker was hit in the back of the head with a cable in a construction accident in Lake Stevens.

Though his injuries were not considered life threatening, crews rescued the man from the trench and took him to the hospital. The injured man works for Plats Plus Inc., a Marysville construction company.

At about 1:30pm, the man was injured while working with a crew installing sewer extensions along 81st Avenue NE near Highway 204 west of Lake Stevens. Company spokesman Paul Nolan said that while working inside a concrete box, a cable splice broke and hit him in the back of the head.

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November 7, 2007

Contruction Worker Killed in Fall

A 60 foot fall from a crane killed a construction worker in Seattle on Monday.

Helen Fitzpatrick, Seattle Fire Department Spokesperson, stated that the man, a tower crane operator, fell to the concrete below while he was climbing down the crane’s ladder. The Seattle Construction accident happened at approximately 8:30am.

The construction site is near the intersection of 3rd Avenue and Bell Street. Firefighters responded to the fatal construction accident and transported the man to Harborview Medical Center. He
died there Monday afternoon.

The man is believed to be in his 40’s, but has not been identified.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, call the personal injury attorneys at Bernard Law Group, 1-800-418-8282, or visit our website at www.4injured.com.