Like the owner or occupier of property, those responsible for the safety of a construction site in Orange County must conduct themselves in a reasonable manner to ensure their work areas are safe. The rules applicable to contractors in terms of providing and maintaining a safe workplace for their employees also apply to third parties (not employees) who may be injured on or near a construction site. In California, the rules generally applicable to workplace safety are found in the Labor Code and in the rules of the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal-OSHA). When someone, not a worker on a construction site, is injured these statutes and rules may still be used to prove a contractor/employer was negligent and must pay the injured party damages.
In general, an injured party can rely on statutory law to show that a defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. Not only are Cal-OSHA violations punishable by civil and/or criminal penalties against the employer, but those same violations may be used by third parties injured when they are upon a construction or work site. What this means is that Cal-OSHA provisions are to be treated like any other statute or regulation and may be admitted in court to establish a standard or duty of care in all negligence and wrongful death actions, including third party actions. If an employer (contractor) on a construction site violates an OSHA rule and someone who just happens to be on the site is injured, the victim can use the violation as evidence of negligence.
In these types of cases there may well be liability for a failure to protect employees and other people coming on to the construction site from a dangerous condition. For example, where a construction company leaves an open trench along the side of a roadway (without warning or barriers), a driver whose vehicle falls into the trench and is injured may be able to recover damages for the injuries sustained.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU OR A FAMILY MEMBER HAS BEEN A VICTIM OF A CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT
It is always important to know your legal rights when there has been a tragic loss of life. No amount of compensation can ever be a substitute for the relationship lost, but civil justice can bring accountability, closure and the compensation the law allows.