Construction work tends to be one of the most dangerous forms of work for employees in the US, and as an employer, you are ultimately responsible for the health and safety of your workers.
The nature of unfinished construction—such as moving and securing large and heavy materials, exposed electrical systems, and numerous other hazards—involves a high degree of risk for anyone working on the job site or even bystanders. When accidents occur, there can be severe consequences for anyone held liable for the damages, including civil and even criminal penalties.
In order to be an informed employer when it comes to construction safety and liability, all construction employers should first be familiar with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as OSHA laws. This government entity enforces strict safety standards and employer obligations with regard to protecting employees.
Construction employers—as well as employers in most other industries—are responsible for providing a safe workplace for their employees, as well as finding and correcting safety issues, providing safety training to employees, and much more. They must also report any serious injury or fatality incidents to OSHA.
As long as you maintain worker’s compensation insurance and you have fulfilled all of your obligations with regard to OSHA, you will likely be protected from personal injury lawsuits. However, in cases where an accident occurs as a result of intentional or severe negligence, there are a number of construction-related entities that have the potential to be held liable for damages in a Florida construction accident.
For example, construction site owners can face penalties for premises liability, general and subcontractors must fulfill their OSHA duties to their employees, prime contractors can be held liable if an accident occurs as a result of their construction responsibilities or as a result of actions taken by a subcontractor hired by the prime, and even engineers and architects can be held liable if they fail to ensure that the construction is being completed in accordance with their plans. Manufacturers, too, may be responsible if an injury or fatality occurs due to a defective product.
One important factor to consider regarding construction accident liability is that Florida is a pure comparative negligence state. This means you, as the defendant in a construction accident lawsuit, may reduce or eliminate the damages you owe based on demonstrating that the injured party was to some degree responsible for the accident. For example, if you were found 75% at fault for the accident, while the employee was 25% at fault, the employee could potentially collect 75% of the damages they could have otherwise collected if you were 100% at fault for the accident.
With so many parties being involved in construction projects, construction accident liability can be incredibly complex. It is vital that you enlist the services of a skilled construction attorney to advise you regarding your obligations under OSHA and to defend you in cases where an accident has occurred. Contact the Florida Construction Law Group today to learn how we can help.