Consider a case where an Illinois roofer was burned when a tar pot ignites. This construction worker can claim damages against the site developer for negligence. Many building project developers are mindful of the fact that many workers in the construction industry are exposed to dangerous conditions. But in some cases a project owner’s negligence may result in a subcontracted workers’ injury, in which case the project owner would be liable.
This situation applies when the control of the job’s safety clearly rests in the hands of the builder or owner of the project. The relevant company can be held responsible for a construction accident when one of its workers is placed in such a dangerous situation that his/her injuries were foreseeable and predictable.
Let’s return to the example of the roofer working with a pot of molten hot roofing material that resembles tar. This heated material is smoothed over the roof and will waterproof the roofing surface once it cools and hardens. In order to get this roofing material up to the roof that may be some 30 feet above ground, several construction workers must hoist the heated containers to the roof. Dealing with such burning hot material is inherently dangerous and requires the owner to provide a safe environment in which to complete this process.
The owner has a safety obligation to the construction workers to ensure that the process being used to convey the roofing material to the roof is reasonably safe. Also, to ensure that all the construction workers on site have the correct safety equipment and clothing. As the person in charge of the building location and all of its processes, the owner also oversees the construction supervisors, architects, and other representatives of the building site to make sure that they are safely completing their jobs.
In this roofing material scenario there are several additional factors to consider. If the heated material is to be conveyed to the roof using a hoisting method then the roofers must be provided with the appropriate buckets or kettles, pulleys, and hoists. However, the roofing material could also be conveyed to the roof using a pump and hoist. In this scenario the tarring material is heated to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and may result in an explosive fire, which would severely burn the roofers surrounding the pot.
This is just one fact example in which a construction worker can be injured at work. In order to avoid such hazards, before any work begins the developer should be notified that the work site is safe by its safety director or supervisor. Furthermore, the owner or developer always has the right to stop work on its job site if the subcontractors are not following safety rules and regulations. Construction workers’ safety should be a top priority and appropriate steps should be taken to ensure that a reasonable degree of safety is established.
Kreisman Law Offices has been practicing construction accident and workers’ compensation law in Illinois and Cook County, including Chicago, Bridgeview, Tinley Park, and Melrose Park.