The family of an individual from Keansburg who was killed three years ago by the collapsing roof of the Beachwood Shopping Plaza settled their wrongful death lawsuit for 2.5 million dollars recently. The man who was killed was called to perform work on the site. He was told that the site was safe to enter and was instructed to cut columns in the building. When he performed this task, a collapse occurred which took his life. The family was represented in his lawsuit by James Maggs of Maggs and McDermott. According to a report by the Asbury Park Press, a 2016 Occupational Safety and Health Administration report found numerous violations of OSHA laws and regulations including:
- Employees at the site had not been trained to recognize potential hazards, like unplanned collapses and falling debris in the old Woolworth’s building.
- No engineering survey was performed at the Woolworth building site to determine the conditions of the framing floors and walls and assess the chance of a collapse.
- Wall sections more than one-story high were allowed to stand alone without lateral bracing, when the wall was not designed to stand alone without lateral support.
- Support columns at the Woolworth building were cut, resulting in a collapse.
- Continuing inspections were not performed during demolition to make sure there were no hazards to employees from weakened floors and walls, or loosened materials.
- Employees were exposed to hazards when support columns at the Woolworth’s building were cut, and also when working next to a cinder block wall that had not been braced to prevent a collapse.
OSHA violations can serve as a basis for liability. Those in control of a construction site obviously have a duty to follow the law, including laws regarding occupational safety. If they break any of these laws they have explicitly breached their duty to follow all relevant laws and regulations. They can therefore be held responsible for any damages that result as a violation of the OSHA laws. It is important to note that a plaintiff need not prove that a construction site violated OSHA laws in order to demonstrate that a construction company or individuals in control of a construction site are negligent. If a plaintiff can establish a legal duty and a breach of that duty, separate and apart from OSHA violations, construction companies and or the companies in control of construction sites can be held liable for any injuries or death which may result.
If you or someone you know would like to speak with one of our New Jersey workplace accident lawyers about a workplace or construction accident call our firm day or night. Our lawyers offer a free consultation.