Apr 28 2010

OSHA Regulations on Construction Accidents

*A list of employees’ rights and employers’ responsibilities

*Basic rules on worker safety in the construction industry

As one of the most common sources of workplace injuries, construction accidents are among the main concerns of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The OSHA, created by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, gives certain rights and responsibilities to workers and employers alike, and ensures that proper compensation is given to construction accident victims. This article provides a list of employees’ rights and employers’ obligations concerning construction accidents under this act. For more information you can check out these Dallas accident FAQs

Employee rights

These rights are meant to protect employees from working hazards and ensure that they are given safe working environments. Some of the main rights include:

-Access to workplace safety information. Construction workers have the right to get copies of standards and regulations governing their field of work. These materials should be available in the workplace at all times, and ideally given to employees as soon as they get signed on.

-Access to medical records. Before hiring a worker, most companies will require a medical report ensuring that a person is fit for the kind of work involved. Workers should be able to retrieve and review these records as needed, whether or not there was an accident.

-Requests for inspection. If a worker finds a potential work hazard or suspects a violation of standards, he or she has the right to contact the OSHA and request an inspection. Usually, a compliance officer from the OSHA will come to inspect the premises a few days after the request.

-Anonymity. Workers who file complaints or request investigations can choose to keep their names hidden from the employer to avoid retaliatory or discriminatory action. This is done by simply requesting anonymity from the OSHA representatives concerned.

Employer responsibilities

Much of a worker’s safety depends on the employer’s management, and the OSHA works to make sure they comply with state and federal standards. Among other things, employers are required to:

-Keep the workplace free from safety and health hazards at all times;

-Inform its workers of relevant safety and health regulations;

-Display the official OSHA rights and responsibilities poster in a prominent place;

-Implement an efficient communication program to manage workplace hazard (e.g. container labeling, data sheets on commonly handled materials, training programs); and

-Inform workers upon hiring that their medical records are available for retrieval and review.

This article is not intended as legal advice.

Apr 25 2010

Growing Risks for Offshore Oil Rigs

With the recent Transocean rig explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon that occurred on April 20th, there has been an awakening regarding the growing risks for oil companies that are drilling deeper into the crust of the earth. More and more companies are digging deeper in order to satisfy the fuel demands for international and domestic usage. In the U.S., there is said to be more deep water areas being opened up for oil exploration. Companies are even beginning preparations for reserves located off the coasts of Angola and Brazil. Furthermore, the U.S. economy is in need of jobs. Recently, President Obama answered the “drill baby drill” chant when he presented his National Energy Plan. In doing so, he opened up from Delaware to Florida for potential deep water drilling, additional leases in the Gulf of Mexico and other reserves in the Alaska Regions. The Transocean rig explosion, and the safety concerns it has brought to the forefront, will require this new exploration and production to be done at a safety standard that will negate the potential of another Deepwater Horizon explosion.

Transocean is a company based in Houston, Texas. The Deepwater Horizon was being rented by British Petroleum [ BP ] at the time it exploded. BP was paying around $500,000.00, a half of a million dollars a day, to utilize this semi-submersible drill ship! This incident is a grave reminder to the world about the risks involved with drilling for more oil during this era of dwindling reserves. It is becoming more and more dangerous even with the advancements in technology.

As Robert Bryce, an energy expert, stated, drilling for oil in deep water is “similar to high-stakes casino”. It has market risks, capital risks and engineering risks. When all put together, the risks are extremely hard to quantify.

Before the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon, it was known for recently breaking a world record for drill depth. It was able to operate in waters as deep at 8,000 feet and had the ability to punch 32,000 feet into the crust of the earth. It was equipped with a movie theater and a bowling alley as well. It was known to be one of the biggest and most advanced engineering projects in the world. It was a fifth generation exploration rig. Most recently, it was working in BP’s crude oil region, called Tiber, which is located in the Gulf of Mexico.

What went wrong aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig is still unknown, but an investigation will be constructed with a main focus on mechanical malfunction and human error. Oil rigs are known for battling hurricanes and fires, but  explosions like the one that occurred on April 20th should not occur without the presence of gross negligence.

All of the injured persons are covered by the Jones Act which is a highly specialized area of the law. It would be foolish to hire a lawyer that does not an experienced maritime lawyer or maritime law firm.

We are honored to say, that because of our prior experience successfully suing Transocean in wrongful death matters, our firm was hired before all other maritime law firms to prosecute a lawsuit against Transocean, British Petroleum and others.

If you would like to get in touch with a Transocean rig explosion lawyer, you can give Gordon, Elias & Seely f/k/a/ Gordon & Elias a call today at 1-800-773-6770.

Apr 5 2010

Chains on Semi-Trucks – When They Should Be Used

Driving a semi-truck in snowy weather is risky business, and even experienced drivers know they need every advantage they can get.  Snow chains on the tires can be such an advantage, as they provide that added traction that is missing in inclement weather.

As with cars, the size of chains you use will depend upon the size of tires that are on your truck.  Your parts store where you purchase your chains can assist you in your selection.  However, once you have them and know how to put them on, when should you use them?

State Requirements

Did you know that some states have requirements for using chains during certain weather conditions or when the truck is over a certain weight?  Those chains offer more traction which is necessary for slippery roads and for hills and mountains as well.  Often these requirements cover certain highways that are considered steep grade; check with each state’s individual requirements on their own websites to be sure of these areas.

You may even notice warning signs on the highways stating that you’re entering a chain required area; don’t ignore these warnings as they’re for your protection as much as anything else.

Other Times to Use Chains

Snowy weather is the obvious answer of when to use tire chains.  However, if some states require the use of chains on steep grades, wouldn’t that be reason enough to consider using them on other hilly areas even if they’re not legally required?  This can keep you safe and give you added control over your rig.

During snow emergencies you should also consider adding chains even if you’re on level roads.  That added traction will mean more ability to stop quickly, and this is imperative in order to avoid a pileup which is all too common when a semi-truck is involved.

There are times when you don’t want to put on chains; this may include those roads that are wet from rain and being slick.  Those chains typically don’t help on roads that are simply slippery due to being weight and may just do damage to the highway more than anything. This article is not intended to provide legal advice.

Contact Gordon & Elias, LLP for truck accident legal advice in the Fresno area.