Unsafe working conditions continue to plague some construction sites, both locally and internationally, according to many news reports. Though several websites exist that offer construction accident information, construction accidents continue to occur frequently. Many times, these unsafe conditions can be easily remedied by a competent foreman on the job site. Sadly, there is a certain stigma against safety on some construction sites. Safety is often overlooked or it is thought that engaging in dangerous construction site behaviors is overtly masculine. Others believe that safety is a cost that can be cut to save money on job projects. This specific belief that money can be saved by ignoring building code safety requirements or using sub-par building materials has been the cause of two recently reported construction-related issues.
The first has been the widely reported problem of defective Chinese drywall present in recently constructed homes across the U.S. Homeowners have recently become aware that a large percentage of drywall imported from China between 2000 and 2007 may be releasing a toxic sulfuric gas in to their homes. This gas has been shown to corrode copper wiring in electrical sockets, copper duct work in air conditioning units, and tarnishing silver flatware. Additionally, it may present health concerns both from short term and long term exposure; many individuals have already experienced a litany of symptoms, including respiratory problems, headaches, and fatigue.
The contaminated building product has gone beyond creating unsafe working conditions for the construction workers that may have been exposed to the toxic Chinese drywall; it has now created a potentially hazardous living environment for many of the homeowners in which this defective product was installed.
Another example of unsafe working conditions came from an international incident in Shanghai. A 13 story apartment building collapsed almost completely intact, killing one worker. The collapse was apparently caused by workers beginning excavation on the underground parking garage, causing the river bank nearby to collapse and triggering a foundation failure for the complex. Preliminary reports have said that the Chinese government is holding 9 individuals connected with the building’s construction. This tragic accident shows us what happens when costs are cut on building code safety regulations.
Ultimately, the responsibility for construction site safety rests on the shoulders of those in charge of the site. When safety is overlooked in favor of cutting costs, it is the construction worker who generally is the victim of oversight. Oftentimes, this leads to the victim contacting a construction accident lawyer and developing a costly construction accident lawsuitfor the building contractor.