According to statistics from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 21.1 percent of all workplace fatalities in 2016 involved construction workers. Given the hazards they face each day, it’s no surprise. That’s why San Francisco, CA attorneys Byron Smith and Bernhard Baltaxe take construction accidents so seriously.
Bulldozers and heavy equipment in general are among the leading causes of injuries and fatalities in construction accidents. The team at Smith & Baltaxe, LLP would like to consider why these vehicles are so dangerous and what you legal options may be following an accident.
Dangers of Bulldozers at Work Sites
When bulldozers are used at construction sites, workers operating the machinery and workers around the machinery must be careful at all times. Bulldozers could accidentally run over workers or crush them between objects if people are not careful. Drivers could be severely injured if not killed if the bulldozer tips over or rolls over, which is a major hazard when working near a dip, ledge, or incline, and when maneuvering along uneven surfaces.
Dangers of Bulldozers on the Road
When bulldozers are working on a road or are driving on the road to get to a work area, the hazards are potentially higher. The bulldozer may accidentally collide with commuter vehicles or pedestrians if the driver is not paying attention. If the bulldozer is being transported to a work site by a truck, there may be a risk of the bulldozer coming loose and harming people on the road.
Causes of Bulldozer Accidents
Below are some common reasons the bulldozer accidents occur:
- Distraction and Inattention - When a bulldozer driver or any construction workers are not paying attention, accidents are more likely. All workers must be aware of their surroundings and their co-workers at all times.
- Driver Inexperience - Operating a bulldozer takes training. If someone operating a bulldozer is not experienced, all manner of accidents are more likely.
- Unsafe Work Site Conditions - Sometimes the work site that the bulldozer is working around is unsafe. The ground or soil may be too soft to support the weight of the vehicle, which may lead to rollovers, the toppling of structures, or other dangers.
- Poor Equipment Maintenance - Regular service and maintenance of bulldozers is essential for safety. If the bulldozers are not properly maintained, the risk of breaking down and potential accidents is more likely.
- Defects in Design or Manufacturing - For new bulldozers, there may be issues with the equipment itself that make it inherently dangerous to use.
- Bad Weather - Poor weather always makes construction sites more dangerous. Workers must be cautious in such conditions.
Hazards to Construction Workers and Bystanders
As we alluded to above, bulldozer accidents can affect construction workers as well as people who just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Given these hazards, working with an attorney is essential for making sure justice is served.
Legal Assistance for Injured Workers
If you’re a construction worker who has been harmed in a bulldozer accident, our attorneys can let you know if you should simply take the workers’ compensation benefits or consider a lawsuit against your employer or negligent third party. Whatever the case may be, a legal professional will be extremely helpful.
Legal Assistance for Motorists and Bystanders
If you are a motorist or bystander harmed by a bulldozer, our attorneys can help you file a lawsuit against the negligent worker and/or their construction company. We will help you seek damages to cover the losses and hardships that occurred as a result of their negligence.
Contact Smith & Baltaxe, LLP
For more information about your legal rights and options following an injury at or near a construction site, be sure to contact the attorneys of Smith & Baltaxe, LLP. We are here to provide expert legal counsel in your time of legal need. Our lawyers will provide straightforward answers to your questions and sound legal advice regarding your next steps moving forward. You can reach our law firm by phone at (415) 292-7800.