Category: Safety/Personal Injury

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Important Lessons from Record-Setting Settlement in Building Collapse Case

Having lived in Philadelphia in 2013 when the four-story “Hoagie City” building collapsed during demolition and toppled the neighboring Salvation Army thrift store, killing seven people and injuring 12 others, I closely followed the recent civil trial that resulted in a $227 million settlement of the plaintiffs’ personal injury and wrongful death claims—a reported record … Continue Reading

Concerns over California’s Increased Earthquakes? Landlords and Developers Should Manage Their Risks Now

During the last month or two there has been a rise of news reports regarding potential earthquakes in California at a greater magnitude than in recent history:  see here and here.  These risks have even been reported recently in a London newspaper.  While the unusual Southern California “big one” warning is now past, the risk has … Continue Reading

One Unanticipated Cost of Being an Owner-Builder in California: Liability for Retained Control over Safety

Many times I hear from people who want to “save money” and serve as their own “owner-builder” under the exemption to the California Contractor’s Licensing law, which generally requires that any “construction” work over $500 to be performed by a licensed California contractor in the absence of an exemption.  (Bus. & Prof. Code section 7048).  … Continue Reading

No Crane Trespassing! Swingway Easements Make Good Neighbors

Earlier this year, my colleague Eric Grasberger authored a blog post about a crane collapse in Lower Manhattan.  In that post, he mentioned that neighboring landowners may seek to prevent cranes from intruding into the airspace above their property.  Contractors and owners alike are often surprised to learn that a crane swinging over adjacent property … Continue Reading

OSHA’s New Dust Exposure Rule and Its Potential Impact on Construction Industry

On March 24, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued its final rule related to admissible exposure to respirable crystalline silica. The new rule, which dramatically reduces the permissible exposure limit (“PEL”) of respirable crystalline silica from 250 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air (an … Continue Reading

NYC Crane Collapse Likely to Fuel Crane Objections and Easements

On Friday, February 5, one man died and three were injured when a 565-foot crane toppled in gusty winds in lower Manhattan, not far from the World Trade Center. The investigation will likely take weeks to months as experts try to reconstruct whether the engineering, erection, operation or manufacture of the crane, or some combination … Continue Reading

The Latest DIRT in California: Additional Mandatory Reporting for Excavators, Operators and Contractors?

Those that “dig in the dirt” are very familiar with the Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT), which was launched in 2003 by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA). Over the years California has enacted several statutes requiring anyone moving dirt to notify a regional notification center of the area of planned disturbance that may impact a subsurface … Continue Reading

Owners: Watch Out for New Endorsements

The new year brings a reminder that owners need to be careful about changes to their contractors’ and designers’ insurance policies. Many of the most important terms of an insurance policy are in “endorsements” added to the policy. For example, a policy may include an endorsement excluding claims between insured parties (say, a claim by … Continue Reading

When Is a Private Project a Public Work for Prevailing Wage Application in California?

In recent years, the Department of Industrial Relations (“DIR”), the Legislature and the California courts have expanded the application of the prevailing wage law to projects through the broad definition of a “public works,” beyond what most contractors, owners and even counsel would expect.  While most involved in construction anticipate that any work directly for, … Continue Reading

OSHA Creep

OSHA compliance recently became harder and costlier, and may continue to do so, thanks to several developments at the federal and state level. (Click here for a prior post on OSHA reform.) You may go to prison if you discipline or terminate an employee who might be worried about an unsafe working condition—even though your … Continue Reading

Not so Ahead of Schedule: OSHA Reform

Contributor:  Louis A. Ferreira Congress has proposed legislation that would amend the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to increase both civil and criminal penalties, expand coverage, and create new obligations for employers. Congress has not acted recently on the bill, named the “Protecting America’s Workers Act," but employers should expect action sometime in the new year. … Continue Reading

Oregon OSHA Clarifies That Employers Are Liable On Per-Employee Basis

Are Oregon contractors liable on a per-employee basis for failing to comply with OSHA personal protective equipment (PPE) and training requirements? Under a new administrative order issued by Oregon OSHA, the answer is yes. Under this order, Oregon OSHA adopted a federal OSHA rule clarifying that employers are liable for violations on a per-employee basis. … Continue Reading
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