In March of 2019, railroad giant Norfolk Southern broke ground on its new Midtown Atlanta headquarters, which will be located at 650 W. Peachtree Street. The massive 1.4 million square foot development is being overseen by Atlanta-based Cousins Properties, and it will be situated on a 3.4-acre property that connects Ponce De Leon Avenue and Third Street.
The $575 million construction project will include a 22-story glass office tower, with most of the space (approximately 1 million square feet) being occupied by Norfolk Southern. There will also be approximately 13,000 square feet of retail space, a “food hall style” dining facility, sprawling green spaces on rooftops and at the street level, and a fitness center that will be open 24/7. Norfolk Southern hopes to complete and open their new headquarters by the middle of 2021.
Construction Accident Risks on the Norfolk Southern Headquarters Project
Norfolk Southern has a storied history, having evolved from several regional railroads that date all the way back to the 1830s. The company in its current form was created in 1982, with Norfolk, Virginia as its headquarters. NS is a multi-billion-dollar Fortune 500 company with over 26,000 employees, and its decision in 2018 to leave its hometown of Norfolk and relocate its headquarters to Atlanta is considered one of Atlanta’s largest corporate gets in recent memory.
The impact of the NS headquarters on Atlanta’s local economy will be tremendous. Thousands of white-collar jobs will be relocating here from Norfolk, and hundreds of additional jobs will be created for the retail shops and other businesses that will be spawned by this development. Thousands of jobs have also been created for construction workers, electricians, architects, engineers, iron and steel workers, and various other contractors and subcontractors who are needed to bring this project to fruition.
All of these construction-related jobs come at a potential cost, however. Construction sites are among the most dangerous work environments, and project workers face many occupational hazards that are not present in most other industries. Construction workers perform strenuous tasks in a fast-paced environment, often in highly elevated places where there is a great risk of major injuries if they were to fall.
Atlanta’s hot and humid climate (in the summertime especially) makes things even more stressful for workers, and on top of everything else, near record low unemployment (currently at around 3%) means workers are more frequently asked to put in overtime.
On Midtown Atlanta projects like the Norfolk Southern headquarters development, it is extremely important for employers to follow all government regulations and employ best safety practices in order to keep their workers safe. Failure to do so exposes employees to numerous potential hazards.
OSHA has identified several safety violations that they frequently find during construction site inspections. These include:
- Fall Protection
- Hazardous Energy Control
- Eye and Face Protection
- Powered Industrial Trucks
More than 5,000 American workers are killed on the job every year, and about 21% of these workplace fatalities happen in the construction industry. OSHA points to four common construction site accidents they call the “fatal four”. These are:
- Slip, trip, and fall injuries;
- Being struck by/struck against events;
- Electrical injuries;
- Being caught in between/crush injuries.
These four types of injuries are responsible for nearly 60% of all construction worker deaths, and OSHA says that eliminating them would save the lives of almost 600 workers in the US each year.
In addition to the “fatal four”, there are several other types of injuries that happen frequently at construction sites. These include:
- Trench and wall collapses;
- Tool and machinery accidents;
- Gas leaks, fires and explosions;
- Crane or hoist accidents;
- Forklift accidents;
- Elevator shaft accidents;
- Repetitive stress injuries;
- Exposure to dangerous chemicals or toxins;
- Transportation accidents.
A construction site accident can result in death or serious injury. Some of the most common injuries that happen on construction sites include:
- Head injuries;
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI);
- Back and neck injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Severe burn injuries;
- Fractures/broken bones;
- Amputations/loss of limbs;
- Occupational illnesses.
Pursuing an Atlanta Construction Site Accident Claim
For an injured construction worker, their first recourse for obtaining reimbursement is usually their employer’s workers’ compensation policy. But this only provides limited benefits, and workers’ comp does nothing to help with the intangible losses injured workers and their families suffer; such as the immense physical pain-and-suffering, the distress and anxiety of not knowing how long they will have to suffer and when they will recover, and losing the ability to participate in physical activities they once enjoyed.
Although Georgia employees are generally barred from filing a personal injury lawsuit against their employer, there may be other ways to recover the compensation needed to cope with a workplace injury – depending on the situation. This would usually be accomplished by filing a personal injury claim against a party other than the employer who may have played a role in causing the workplace accident.
The size and scope of the Norfolk Southern Headquarters project is massive, and with a project of this magnitude, there are a number of moving parts. On any given day, there are hundreds of workers at the job site performing various tasks. And when there is a workplace accident and injury, there are usually several potential contributing factors. This means that when an injury occurs, there is a good chance that an outside party may be (at least partially) at fault.
Here are just a few examples of third parties that have been known to cause construction site accidents:
- On-Site Contractors/Subcontractors: Large construction sites typically have numerous contractors and subcontractors working in the vicinity of each other to perform various tasks. If one of these individuals contributes to a workplace accident, a personal injury claim can be lodged against them.
- Off-Site Parties: Workers often need to leave the jobsite to transport materials back and forth, or just to walk across the street to go on a lunch break. If another car collides into a construction worker’s vehicle or collides into the worker while they are crossing the street, the driver of the vehicle can be held liable for the accident.
- Faulty Product Makers: Some construction site accidents happen because a dangerous or defective piece of equipment or machinery malfunctions. When this is the case, it may be possible to bring a product liability claim against the manufacturer, distributor, or any other party in the product’s supply chain.
Injured in a Construction Site Accident in Fulton County, GA? Contact Bailey, Javins, & Carter, L.C. for Immediate Legal Help
If you or someone close to you suffered injury while working on the Norfolk Southern headquarters project or any other construction site in the Atlanta area, get immediate medical attention, then contact Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C. for strong legal guidance. We have over four decades of experience standing up for injured workers, and we will meet with you to thoroughly evaluate your case to help determine your best legal options. We never charge you for a consultation, and if you retain our services, we will only collect attorney fees if we are able to recover compensation for you.
To schedule your free consultation with a member of our legal team, message us online or call our Atlanta office today at (678) 981-5370. We are ready to go to work for you!