On the afternoon of Monday, June 8, a New Jersey woman’s Union Beach house collapsed suddenly while it was under construction. Multiple contractors had been working at the site recently in order to prepare for the elevation of the house, including a general contractor, a home elevation subcontractor, and an excavation subcontractor. The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has not yet officially opened an investigation of the incident, but has confirmed that they are beginning to look in to the circumstances of the incident. Union Beach officials have confirmed that the sudden toppling of the home resulted from compromised temporary supports underneath the home as one of the subcontractors attempted to remove the old footings on which the home had previously been supported. Local officials also promptly ordered emergency demolition of the collapsed home, as a precautionary measure to ensure that unsafe efforts to restore the home would not be undertaken, since the home was already rendered impossible to repair as a result of the collapse.

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Federal laws aim to avoid catastrophes like this one, in which the homeowner apparently witnessed construction workers narrowly escaping the risk of injury as the home fell. Governed by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) and overseen by OSHA, many federal regulations govern the construction industry and create applicable safety standards in an effort to minimize the risk of serious injuries and deaths in the construction business. These regulations require employers and contractors on construction sites to keep job areas and conditions safe generally, setting certain standards for safety and requiring careful oversight. The federal regulations under 29 CFR 1926 contain many requirements geared toward these goals. Although there are no OSHA standards specifically governing the elevating of a home, aside from general safety regulations and requirements, various components of home-elevating work are subject to regulations as well. For example., excavating work is subject to specific regulations under 29 CFR 1926.651, intended to help guide proper safety standards for excavating work.
Fortunately, all of the workers present at this job site escaped injury. However, not all construction workers are so lucky when something goes wrong on the job. If you have been hurt or lost a loved one as a result of a construction accident, please call us to discuss potential options to seek fair compensation for your injuries or loss.