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Criminal activity may result in construction workers' accidents

In California and across the country, construction is ranked as one of the most hazardous occupations to have. While it is inherently dangerous, there are some who believe that construction workers' accidents are often the result of criminal activity. In one state, a task force has been formed to hold contractors legally accountable for the deaths of their employees on the job.

Following the death last year of a construction worker in another state who was crushed in a trench collapse, the district attorney's office brought criminal charges against the man's contractor. The formation of a task force began investigating potential criminality behind such accidents. When the accused contractor was convicted of manslaughter, the task force was encouraged in their efforts. The agencies feel that many construction accidents are the result of falsified inspection reports and corruption which contribute to an unsafe environment for workers.

Others disagree with the claims, saying that construction work is inherently dangerous. They bristle at being compared to the convicted contractor and fear the pursuit of criminal charges will be detrimental to the industry's image. Meanwhile, the task force is encouraging workers to photograph safety violations and report them to investigators.  

Whether it is the result of criminal behavior or simply the risks of the job, construction workers' accidents can result in serious injury or even death. Injured workers in California may face medical bills and time off work. The families of those who die on the job must deal with funeral costs and daily expenses. Construction workers may depend on workers' compensation to help sustain them during these difficult times, so they often turn to a lawyer who will fight for their right to fair payment.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Manhattan Prosecutors Go After Builders on Construction-Site Safety", Corinne Ramey, Aug. 26, 2016

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