ABC 7 News reveals that a cellphone user took a dramatic video of a construction site accident in San Jose, California, and that this video was sent anonymously to Santa Clara county officials in an effort to expose work site dangers. The video shows an explosion occurring at San Jose’s Santa Clara Valley Medical Center that injured a worker. The explosion occurred a little over a year ago when the general contractor and a subcontractor were adding a new section of steam pipe to provide heating to one of the new hospital buildings. A worker for the subcontractor was climbing out of an underground vault as the steam pipe exploded. Fortunately, co-workers were able to rapidly pull the worker out of the vault, saving him from suffering serious injuries and burns.
Construction sites involve certain foreseeable hazards that require corresponding safety measures. As a result, it is crucial that general contactors pay strict attention to both their own safety rules and comply with California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal-OSHA) regulations. All contractors (including a general contractor) on a jobsite are required to follow such regulations and can be cited where they don’t.
The Santa Clara Valley Medical Center project has been delayed while the general contractor redesigns the steam pipe. And, the general contractor is now facing scrutiny as more details of this explosion come to light. While the injured worker was permitted to file a workers’ compensation claim against his employer as a result of the incident, it will be interesting to see if facts are revealed here which show that he also has a right to sue the general contractor. While he cannot sue his own employer, if the general contractor was at fault for the incident, then the injured worker can sue to recover personal injury damages (i.e., for wage loss, pain and suffering, etc.). Since the benefits in the workers’ compensation system in California are very limited, it is important that anyone injured on the job assess whether he/she has additional remedies such as the right to sue a third party.
At Butler Viadro, our construction site accident lawyers understand the complexities involved when workers suffer injuries at construction sites, and when general contractors may be held liable for worker injuries. For more information, or if you have been harmed at a job site, please contact the experienced Oakland personal injury lawyers at Butler Viadro, LLP for an immediate consultation.