Recently, members of Philadelphia Building Trades (PBT) held a news conference in front of an apartment complex in Old City to emphasize the construction violations taking place. According to PBT, the mold-ridden project is a good example of the types of sites it will be exposing in 2019. The PBT says that in the new year, it will be more active in highlighting projects around the city with shoddy construction work or other potential construction violations.
PBT is the umbrella organization for more than 50 local construction industry unions. Its Allied Trades Assistance Program’s Preventative Education Program is designed to educate individuals in order to promote healthy, safe, substance-free working environments. PBT is planning to expose Philadelphia construction sites with potential construction violations. Representatives point to the recent building collapse in North Philadelphia in which two workers were critically injured as the catalyst for its increased efforts.
In that building collapse on December 21, two workers were pinned below falling debris from a building which was next to their excavation site. According to PBT, it had informed Philly 311 (a non-emergency contact center for municipal service requests) about the dangerous building before it collapsed, but no action was taken.
Philadelphia firefighters were able to free the trapped workers within half an hour and although they were in critical condition, there were no casualties. However, in yet another North Philadelphia building collapse earlier this year, a Brewerytown contractor was fatally crushed under brick and rubble. The Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) had issued numerous violations, eventually deeming the building to be unsafe and ordering it to be demolished by hand due to its extremely dangerous nature.
The PBT claims that responses to 311 calls by Philadelphia L&I are not fast enough. The organization plans to expose and potentially take action against construction companies that are putting workers in danger. Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, employers have a duty to provide workers with safe and healthful workplaces. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that approximately 150,000 workers are injured in construction accidents each year in the U.S., many of which are due to construction violations.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) protects workers by setting and enforcing workplace laws and standards, and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance. One of the ways in which OSHA assures safe and healthy working conditions for employees is by spreading awareness through its annual top ten safety violations report. According to OSHA’s 2017 report, the top ten safety violations involved:
If you were injured due to a construction violation, you may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits, including medical and lost wage benefits. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may also be eligible for additional damages in a third-party claim. Contact a knowledgeable Philadelphia construction accident lawyer at Galfand Berger LLP for a free consultation by calling 1-800-222-USWA (8792) or complete our online contact form. Our experienced attorneys represent clients in Philadelphia, Reading, Bethlehem, Allentown, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and throughout New Jersey.