Eliminating the Dangers of Structural Collapse when Cleaning, Pointing and Painting
Eliminating the Dangers of Structural Collapse when Cleaning, Pointing, and Painting: By Neil Kalra
Wall collapses can cause many catastrophic construction site accidents anytime. Workers can be buried under piles of dirt, rocks, walls, and equipment; often producing grisly injuries such as crushed bones, lost limbs, spinal cord injuries, brain damage, permanent disfigurement, and horrible deaths.
Wall collapses typically happen due to a lack of proper reinforcement. Use of defective materials, imperfect building plans or designs, and substandard – or the total lack of – inspections can all lead to disastrous collapses. When walls are not properly braced, even moderately strong winds can regularly cause them to fail. Making sure walls are properly braced or enforced, that equipment is well-maintained and working properly, and wearing the proper safety equipment can all help reduce the risk of wall collapse injuries or death.
Structural collapse injuries can happen to workers who might be cleaning, pointing (performing masonry work), or painting a wall. Often, these tragedies occur when very old buildings are being restored. Not long ago a plasterer was killed in a Brooklyn wall collapse. The irony of this tragedy – according to an article in the New York Times – surrounded his conversations with friends and family members days before the accident occurred; saying he was afraid because he was convinced the structure was unsafe and that it was not being regularly inspected. Since then, other wall collapse tragedies have happened as recently as October 2019.
Preventing Masonry Wall Collapses
Any wall can collapse if it is not properly built, maintained, and supported. One hazard which can make wall collapses more likely is concrete and masonry (plastered) walls. Their tremendously heavy loads need to be supported. And over time, the materials which hold a wall together can erode and degrade: causing a collapse that injures or kills a plasterer, cleaner, mason, or some other construction worker.
Workers on the job site must always be aware of these walls’ conditions: and if they believe them to be unsafe, notify their foreman or someone else in the authority of their concerns. Workers (and property owners, contractors, and site supervisors) should all know that to prevent injuries from collapsing masonry walls, all construction team members must be aware of and follow these OSHA recommendations:
- Never place construction loads on a concrete structure until a qualified person confirms that the concrete can support it.
- Shore or brace structures until permanent supporting elements are in place or until the concrete has been tested and proved to be sufficiently strong.
- Only allow essential, actively engaged construction personnel in the work area.
- And of course, all cleaning masonry and painting workers on the job site need to be observant of the condition of any walls and note any sudden shifting or changing conditions to the wall. They should also wear their personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times which includes any or all of the following: proper footwear, protective clothing, and a hard hat. Workers who spray paint with unhealthy fumes must be provided with protection.
Often, especially when cleaning very old walls, toxic chemicals (lead, asbestos, plaster of Paris, silica, fiberglass, talc,1-trichloroethylene) may be present. Sandblasters also need to be especially aware of these chemicals which become part of the air they breathe: such as cement dust, silica, asphalt, and various solvents. Under these conditions when toxic fumes may be in the air, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires contractors to provide the proper ventilation to draw the fumes out of these often confined spaces. But in addition, any construction worker who is working on a wall should also have personal breathing apparatus and wear it at all times.
Whether you were, or a family member was, injured due to construction, car, commercial vehicle, or semi-truck accident; you may be entitled to full benefits and compensation. Know your rights and get the answers you are entitled to.
The attorneys at Kalra Law Firm are dedicated to getting construction accident victims the compensation they deserve. Call our office now to speak with one of our experienced construction accident lawyers to represent you in your case. We offer a free initial consultation and will not charge unless we win your case. If you have any questions about your construction accident, call our New York City and Queens Construction accident lawyers today at (718) 897-2211. www.unionlawyer.com
About Kalra Law Firm
NYC Construction Injury Lawyers from Kalra Law Firm have recuperated millions of dollars for our clients. The toll of serious injury can be tremendous on you and your loved ones. We have devoted ourselves to fighting for justice and to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. With Law Offices in Queens, Long Island, Corona, and The Bronx We are ready to serve you today.