One construction worker was killed and another seriously injured in a construction accident at a sewage treatment plant in Tennessee. The men were pouring concrete into forms for 30 foot high concrete walls in the plant. The form collapsed, resulting in the two men being buried in concrete for almost a half hour before they were pulled out of the concrete.This wrongful death construction accident was probably preventable. Pouring concrete walls is hazardous endeavor, and OSHA regulations provide certain minimum safety standards which must be followed. These include:
- The concrete forms must be designed and constructed so that the anticipated loads can be held in place without failure.
- There must be drawings of the formwork done before the pour begins to make sure that the forms can support the anticipated load.
- Before the pour begins, the forms must be inspected to ensure that forms as built conform to the drawings and that the actual components are in proper condition to support the loads.
In most large scale construction projects, there is will be a general contractor that has entered into an agreement with the owner of the site for the work to be done. The general contract for the project usually includes a provision that the work will be done in compliance with OSHA standards, which includes the standards for concrete form work. Once it gets the job, the general contractor will let out subcontracts for various components of the work. However, this does not relieve the general contractor of its obligation to ensure that the manner in which the work is done complies with OSHA standards.In this particular situation, the failure of the forms raises questions as to whether the work was being done in compliance with OSHA standards and as to whether the general contractor was properly discharging its obligation to oversee the work. As an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer, I recognize that one of the keys to helping injured construction workers recover fair compensation for their injuries is to be able to identify the applicable OSHA regulations and the documents which should demonstrate how the work should be done to comply with those regulations. For the workers injured or killed in this accident, investigation will probably show that either the plan for doing the work was deficient or the execution of the plan fell short, but given that OSHA regulations require planning and checking before beginning a concrete pour such as this, responsibility for this accident will probably fall back on the general contractor.