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What to Do If Poor Infrastructure Results in OSHA Violations

citizen, infrastructure is important. The quality of roads, sewage, and the electrical grid are huge factors to consider in any project, but it can be especially frustrating when poor infrastructure results in OSHA violations or serious damage and delays to your project. 

If you are facing any challenges at a job site due to deteriorating infrastructure, the Tallahassee construction attorneys with Cotney Construction Law can help. In this brief article, an attorney shares the most common ways infrastructure can hinder a jobsite, the types of OSHA violations that may come as a result, and what you can do about it.

Related: Classifying Different Types of OSHA Violations

Uneven or Collapsed Roadway Hazards

If you are repairing a roadway, be it a collapsed or uneven road or bridge, you are already exposed to areas which many may find unsafe for the general public. This means additional safety measures must be taken. However, poor roadway infrastructure restoration projects face many of the same challenges as other construction sites. Applying your existing knowledge of OSHA regulations can help decrease the likelihood of a violation. For example, some of the most common OSHA violations issued to roadway infrastructure projects include fall protection, hazard communication, respiratory protection, lockout, tagout, electrical wiring methods, and machine guarding.

If you are not repairing a road but rather required to use a portion of an uneven road during your project, you may also face OSHA challenges. For example, if you are forced to set up scaffolding on the road itself (assuming the road is closed, of course), you will still need to follow OSHA’s safety standards on scaffolding and ensuring that it is stable. 

Related: How Poor Roadway Infrastructure Can Lead to an OSHA Violation During Redevelopment

Major Water, Sewage, and Levee Issues

As a builder, you will likely run into issues with government-owned sewage systems. If the sewage system is older or the area has encountered major erosion since it was created, you may run into problems drilling into the ground (among other issues). Further, when digging any type of trench, there are specific OSHA requirements you must take into account. These can create costly backups and safety hazards, like flooding — not to mention OSHA violations. 

While flooding, issues with levees, and problems with sewage are a growing threat, your company will actually have fewer regulations to contend with on federally funded construction projects. In an executive order signed by President Donald Trump, regulations were rolled back that required federal construction projects to either be built away from flood-prone areas or be built to a higher standard to mitigate flood risks. As The New York Times reports, the executive order was signed to “eliminate and streamline some permitting regulations and to speed construction of roads, bridges and pipelines.”

Still, these situations can create potentially hazardous working conditions, ultimately resulting in OSHA citations. If you have been cited due to water, sewage, or levee issues, a Tallahassee construction lawyer can help you make sure your job site is in compliance. 

Electrical Components Creating Unsafe Situations

The electrical grid is a crucial component of any construction project. An older electrical system for the county or city can result in wiring issues, sparks or shorting out, and other major hazards. Further, electrical issues can cause poor lighting. Poor lighting during nighttime construction can result in serious injury, and poor drainage can lead to various health problems. 

Electricity has long been recognized as a serious workplace hazard, exposing employees to electric shock, electrocution, burns, fires, and explosions. In 1999, for example, 278 workers died from electrocutions at work, accounting for almost 5 percent of all on-the-job fatalities that year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What makes these statistics more tragic is that most of these fatalities could have been easily avoided. These hazards can be worsened by poor infrastructure regarding the electrical grid. 

Tallahassee construction law firms can help you evaluate your job site for potential electrical hazards caused by an old power grid. For example, if there are low-hanging electrical wires or telephone poles or other obvious or non-obvious problems, an attorney can help you understand who is liable for fixing these before proceeding on a job. 

How to Protect Your Job Site Even in Poorly Maintained Areas

Regardless of the location of your job site, you have an obligation to provide a reasonable level of safety measures and protection as outlined by OSHA. If you are facing a particularly dangerous area that is left unchecked, there may be a greater risk of construction errors, defects, injuries, and other problems that will come back to haunt you down the line. A Tallahassee construction lawyer can help you make sure that you have met all safety requirements and will walk you through what to do if any issues arise. For example, a Tallahassee construction defect lawyer can help you defend against claims of defects if they were a result of poor infrastructure during the project and therefore out of your hands. 

If you need help with issues relating to poor infrastructure, contact Cotney Construction Law today. Cotney Construction Law’s experienced attorneys can provide sound legal advice to construction professionals at every level. Not only do we advise our clients on legal matters, but we also provide representation in court, mediations, and arbitrations when necessary. We also advocate for clients involved in licensing complaints, OSHA citations, labor and safety violations, permitting issues, and stop-work orders. 

If you would like to speak with one of our Tallahassee construction attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.