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 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 29, 2010

Worker Fatally Injured On the Job in Washington Dairy Accident

Whatcom County Sheriff's officials are investigating the death of a worker at a local dairy farm north of Lynden, Washington, according to the Bellingham Herald. Officials say a large, overhead door fell on the 30-year-old worker and pinned him against an interior cattle gate. He died at the scene. Officials are looking into whether the door fell as a result of a mechanical failure. Authorities will report the findings of their investigation to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, there were a total of 47 fatalities in the dairy industry in 2007. Out of these fatalities, 13 deaths were a result of contact with objects and equipment. That category includes dairy workers who were killed as a result of falling objects. In this particular case, it is not clear what caused the door to fall on the worker. In cases where industrial accidents result in death, the worker's family will be entitled to worker's compensation benefits. However, if the fatal injury involved negligence on the part of someone else or a defective product, a third party claim can be brought against the negligent party or the manufacturer of the defective product.

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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 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 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 16, 2009

Lynnwood Worker Suffers Fatal Fall from 4-Story Building

According to a heraldnet.com article, a worker has died after falling four stories from a building in Lynnwood where he was installing carpet. Apparently, the accident took place around 10 a.m. on November 12, 2009 as the carpet installer fell out of a Holiday Inn Express window and landed on his head. Sadly, the man later died from his injuries after being transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

This fall accident is still being investigated to determine the exact cause of the incident and whether or not any safety regulations were violated. Similar fall accidents have been known to occur due to lack of fall protection, slippery surfaces, negligent actions of fellow employees, or other safety rules being forgotten or broken by employers.

If it is determined that the man’s employer, or a third party, is responsible for some form of negligence that contributed to the accident and the man’s subsequent death, then the deceased man’s family may seek compensation for loss of companionship, loss of past and future wages, funeral expenses, and medical bills.

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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.

July 13, 2009

Judge Rules in Favor of Dole - Several Related Cases May Be at Risk

A Los Angeles judge has dismissed two lawsuits that were filed against US Food Giant Dole by Nicaraguan banana plantation workers, according to a recent report on abcnews online. The lawsuits alleged that Dole was guilty of exposing plantation workers to harmful pesticides. Litigation was fueled by previous lawsuits that opponents of the Food Company had won in Nicaragua.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Victoria Chaney dismissed the lawsuits on the grounds of fraud and attempted extortion. She made her ruling after hearing testimony that detailed a scheme to recruit men who would claim they were rendered sterile by exposure to a pesticide in the 1970s.

The Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge sighted a litany of judgments coming from Nicaragua, from crooked judges who were ‘devouring bribes’. She was quoted as saying:

"What has occurred here is not just a fraud on the court, it is blatant extortion on the defendant…the record is so outrageous and profound."

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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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December 14, 2007

Fatal Accident Causes Death – Company Fined

An employee of Avista Utilities died last May when he fell from an extended boom-truck lift. The accident occurred at Hiawatha Elementary School, in Othello, Washington. Avista confirmed last week that they intend to pay all fines associated with the Washington work injury accident.

The man died while helping conduct an annual science experiment at the school. Students design devices to protect an egg when dropped from different heights. The man died from head injuries and a school teacher was treated for broken vertebras after being thrown from the boom-truck lift when the base of the bucket arm broke away from the truck.

The Communications Manager of Avista said they plan to pay the $17,600 worth of fines, which include failure to ensure training, failure to ensure proper pre-start checks, and failure to ensure the employee wore proper equipment in case of a fall from the bucket. (According to the citation document)

In addition, the Othello School District received two fines for $6,300 for failing to provide training concerning hazards and safety requirements for working in a boom-truck. (According to state records)

According to Othello School District Superintendent George Juarez, the district is still reviewing the ciatations, as well as researching the proper course of action. They expect to make a decision next week. Avista is spearheading the investigation to determine the cause of the work injury accident.

If you or someone you know is injured in a work related accident, call the personal injury attorneys at Bernard Law Group, 1-800-418-8282.