Skibiel Law

Deviation from approved plan causes fatal workplace injuries

Construction company owners in Georgia and across the country are required to provide safe workplace environments in which no known hazards exist. While construction sites must be assessed for safety hazards, architectural plans must be followed to avoid unexpected workplace injuries. A construction worker in another state died when a contractor decided to deviate from approved building plans.

An accident report indicates that the incident occurred on a site where repairs were underway at a restaurant that was damaged during Hurricane Isaac. The approved plan called for a wooden floor, but the contractor decided to pour a concrete floor. No adjustments were made to the building plans, nor was the concrete floor approved. The pouring of the heavy concrete proceeded without additional supports being installed.

When the existing supports failed to accommodate the weight of the concrete form, it collapsed and caused the death of a worker. An Occupational Safety and Health Administration director said the contractor was warned about the instability of the concrete floor, but continued to expose employees to this life-threatening hazard. This fatality could have been prevented by obtaining modified engineering plans and following the requirements.

This disregard of the building contractor has led to a family being denied the company of a loved one. Such an unsuspected death usually presents several financial challenges, such as the high costs of a funeral and burial along with the sudden loss of income. Fortunately, financial relief is available through the workers' compensation program. Dependents of a Georgia construction worker who dies after suffering fatal workplace injuries may pursue death benefits claims through the workers' compensation insurance system that will cover the mentioned losses.

Source:, "OSHA fines LA contractor $80K for collapse in worker death", Kim Slowey, March 9, 2016

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