When a worker gets hurt in a construction accident, it may be hard for that worker, or the family, to know to whom to turn in order to get compensation. In theory, the construction worker's own employer should have worker's compensation available to cover the injured worker's medical bills and lost wages.
As anyone in the Minneapolis and Saint Paul area who has worked construction knows, there are many ways to get hurt while on a construction site doing work. For instance, oftentimes, construction zones involving scaling scaffolding to great heights or working below ground in a deep trench. Objects can fall, trenches can collapse and a worker can herself lose balance and take a tumble from a great height. Sometimes, the problem lies with a defective or dangerous tool or machine, while at other times equipment collapses, causing falls and other serious injuries.
Hand-held power tools are commonplace at most construction sites in Minnesota. They help workers accomplish their jobs efficiently and, oftentimes, even more safely than had the workers relied on hand tools.
Rather than relying on the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Minnesota uses its own state agency to oversee the safety of workplaces in the greater Twin Cities area as well as the rest of the state. The agency is called the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or MNOSHA.
Although its leadership has been implicated in a worker trafficking scheme, a company that handled subcontracting work for home projects in the area seems to continue to enjoy the favor of the Twin Cities area's largest home-builder. It recently came to light that this home-builder was affiliated with the impugned company, a company whose owner was recently arrested and accused of labor trafficking. For those who are unaware, labor trafficking can refer to the practice of using undocumented immigrant labor for construction projects, and then using their status as a threat to keep them from demanding their rights as workers.
A previous post on this blog mentioned that injured construction workers, particularly those who work on or alongside Minnesota's roads and highways, may be able to seek compensation from sources other than workers' compensation.
Although she was looking at her cell phone when she struck and almost killed a construction worker in a town near the Twin Cities, it turns out she will only face misdemeanor criminal charges. This is in large part due to some legal obstacles that, according to prosecutors, make it difficult to pursue a felony case.
As part of their jobs, construction workers in Minnesota will daily encounter and probably use one type of power tool or another. While these tools no doubt make it possible for workers in the greater Twin Cities area to do their jobs efficiently and well, a lot of things can go wrong with these tools, and such problems can cause serious if not fatal construction accidents.
According to relatively recent government statistics, a little over one in five fatal workplace accidents involve construction workers. Moreover, among these construction accidents, there were four causes of accidents, dubbed the Fatal Four by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, that stand out as leading reasons for workplace fatalities at construction sites.
Since 2007, Minnesota residents pay particularly close attention to news of bridge collapses. That year, while under construction, the Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River, near downtown Minneapolis, collapsed under the weight of construction equipment and rush hour traffic. While uncommon, these kinds of catastrophic failures are perilous to the both general public and the workers who are on the job at the site.