In Texas and the rest of the United States, accidents at construction sites account for the highest proportion of on-the-job fatalities. Each year, construction workers are killed in falls from elevated heights, crane accidents, scaffolding accidents, electrocutions and other accidents that make construction sites dangerous.
Unfortunately, a construction worker was killed last week in the Dallas-area after being struck by a large forklift. The accident occurred on Wednesday at the construction site for a new hospital in Parkland. Officials said the 24-year-old worker was hit by the large piece of equipment, also known as a lull, as it was moving forward.
Following the accident, an internal investigation reportedly took place and the next morning workers held a 20-minute "standdown" as a tribute to the fallen worker and a reminder to put safety first while on the job.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has also been called in to investigate the accident, which could take up to six months to complete. The OSHA inspection will look for safety violations that could have contributed to the accident.
"The investigator or investigators will go to the site, they will interview employees and witnesses, they will inspect the equipment and talk to anybody on the site," an OSHA spokesman said.
Depending on the cause of the accident, it may be possible for the family of the worker who was killed to sue the employer or a third-party in a wrongful death lawsuit. This would require that the accident was the result of an unsafe work environment or other negligence on behalf of the employer or a third-party.
Source: Dallas Business Journal, "OSHA investigating Parkland construction death," Bill Hethcock, April 20, 2012
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