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The New Focus on Jobsite Risks in Pennsylvania’s Demolition Industry

A disastrous lapse of judgment led to tragedy in Philadelphia in early June 2013.

The routine demolition of a four-story commercial building in downtown Philadelphia became a catastrophe when the structure suddenly collapsed onto an adjacent thrift store. Workers and shoppers in the thrift store were buried in rubble; six people died.

The incident brought into focus the risk of serious injuries from razing buildings and spurred some revisions in demolition procedures in Philadelphia. However, even though there is now new concern over risks to the public from demolition activities, not enough attention is being paid to the daily hazards that demolition workers face on the job.

Preventing Pennsylvania demolition site injuries

The site supervisor or general contractor for a Pennsylvania demolition project has overall responsibility to ensure that the project poses no undue risk to workers or to the general public. Safety experts suggest that five components are essential for this task:

  1. Training. Every worker must be familiar both with his job procedures and specific safety protocols to minimize hazards to others on the jobsite.
  2. Gear. Workers must be issued appropriate tools and safety equipment for their job functions. The appropriate gear for emergency situations must be available onsite and in good repair, and personnel must be trained to use it.
  3. Warnings. Signs, barriers, and hazard notifications must be posted prominently to alert the crew to special risks.
  4. First aid. A full complement of emergency medical supplies should be available at the worksite. Someone trained in first aid must be prepared to take charge in an urgent situation until paramedics can arrive.
  5. A culture of safety. All crewmembers must be trained to put safety considerations as their top priority. Management must encourage—not punish—reports of safety violations.

When demolition accidents happen

Injuries will happen in demolition work. Whether injuries were due to unavoidable circumstances, or to human error, workers’ compensation law in Pennsylvania guarantees coverage for most employees who suffer on-the-job injuries. Additionally, if a subcontractor’s negligent employee ends up hurting a worker from another company, a Pennsylvania workplace injury lawsuit may offer a broader scope for recovery than Pennsylvania workers’ compensation offers.

To follow up on the rights to compensation, though, an injured party needs trustworthy legal advice. If you have been harmed due to negligence on a demolition site, contact Schmidt Kramer at 717-888-8888 or (717) 888-8888 toll-free, and ask for a FREE conference with a Harrisburg workers’ compensation attorney.

Whether you were an employee, a subcontractor, or a bystander when you were hurt, there is no reason why you should have to pay medical bills for injuries caused by another person’s negligence. Allow us the chance to show how we can help your recovery during your confidential, FREE consultation. In return for your call, we would be glad to send you a free copy of our client guidebook, Who Pays The Bills When You Are Injured At Work?