Assessing Construction Site Safety: Who’s Responsible?

OSHA Expert Witness

Lt. Col. Bryan J. Smith, PE, Construction Site Safety Expert ::::
Case Description/Summary: During the performance of a project to construct a multi-unit apartment complex, a second tier subcontractor foreman was injured while removing temporary stairs. One temporary stair riser section collapsed while he was working upon it to free it for removal, resulting in his twenty foot fall and severe personal injury.
Expert Analysis: Long after the incident, a site survey was conducted to inspect all of the removed temporary stair sections. No evidentiary findings could be made from the inspection. A review of all involved parties’ responsibilities revealed that the represented defendant firm was not responsible for this portion of contract work though they did have responsibility for all underground utilities and site improvements. The general contractor (GC) for the building portion of the project is held responsible for overall site safety by OSHA. Continue reading “Assessing Construction Site Safety: Who’s Responsible?”

Current Codes v. Grandfather Clause

Lt. Col. Bryan J. Smith, PE, Construction Site Safety / OSHA Consultant ::::
An elderly gentleman was walking down an exterior pedestrian walkway when he tripped and fell onto the adjacent parking surface and sustained serious injuries. An improper handrail configuration at that location prevented him from grabbing it to stabilize himself and thereby prevent his fall.
The plaintiff stated that he previously requested the property owners add a handrail to the lowest step of the incident stairs; however, the request had not been accomplished prior to the date of the incident. The location of this tripping incident was Belgium block curbing that had a section raised up about an inch or so from the adjacent sidewalk elevation at the bottom of the stairway. Plaintiff did not notice that the incident Belgium block curbing was in a raised condition until after his incident. The raised curbing/block tripped the plaintiff, while the absence of the necessary handrail prevented him from catching his balance and thereby avoiding the fall. Continue reading “Current Codes v. Grandfather Clause”