Engineers, construction workers, and lawyers: How can I find out what the specific site safety requirements and statutes are for an under-construction commercial urban development site? Specifically, I'm looking to find out more about site-safety requirements in the city of St. Louis, Mo.
I'm especially seeking information that might shed some light on what might be required in the way of erecting barriers, fences, and signs to keep the general public safely off roads and paths leading into construction sites.
Here's the specific circumstance that prompted this question:
Headed north on a local highway in the dark, amid a light drizzle, I took a city exit I'd never taken before. I soon I figured I'd best find a way to get back on the highway. I made a quick right at the first light I reached, then turned right again at the next light after that, hoping it might take me right back around to the highway on-ramp. (A look at Google Maps when I got home suggested that that's exactly what this road originally did.)
Unfortunately, the road quickly turned into an unlit, half-paved drive, surrounded by overgrown brush. The drive narrowed as I crested a small rise—only to find myself at the edge of a vast expanse of muddy gravel. The street, it seems, currently dead-ends in a vacant lot behind an under-construction Walgreens. The only way out, since this was a one-way street, appeared to be driving toward the already-constructed parking lot. So I drove slowly across the gravel, headed for the parking lot—only to find myself stuck in the mud right next to what turned out to be a new curb. After a series of fits and starts, I finally got my car unstuck—and came down with a big crunch on the other side of the curb.
Hyperventilating, I parked next to the building, where the light was better, and got out to check the car. Nothing creaked or popped or looked obviously broken, so after moving a traffic barrel blocking the new parking lot's only entrance/exit, I made my way back to the highway and drove home.
This morning, I moved my car and checked the pavement where I'd been parked, and saw several fresh oil spots. This car is only a couple years old and has never leaked anything in the time I've had it. So I took a flashlight and peered under the car, and it looked like the plastic cowling protecting the oil-filter area had come partially dislodged. I couldn't see anything else that looked obviously damaged, but clearly I'm going to need to take this in to the shop tomorrow so they can put it on the lift and repair the cowling and/or the oil-filter cap/gasket and/or anything else that might've been damaged.
Hence my initial query. I'm trying to figure out what recourse, if any, I have in terms of recovering damages in this situation (perhaps via small-claims court?)—and making sure it never happens to anyone else. I can't believe
they don't have that street blocked off.
I plan to contact that ward's alderwoman first thing Monday. But I'd like to have something concrete to cite in my conversations with her and/or anyone else I have to deal with about this explaining what's wrong with the site, especially since the builder of this development is a very large company.
I found a few sections of the Missouri Revised Statutes that look as though they may apply: 319-035
I also uncovered slides from a PowerPoint presentation on ANSI's A10.34 standard (Google's cached html version here
), which, although only a voluntary-adoption measure, still provides some sense of what the baseline standards for construction-site public safety should be. The very first requirement listed? "Restricting public access to the jobsite – a site security plan." Along those lines, best practices listed include "100 percent fencing of the project site," "Use of easy to read signs," "Daily inspection of fences, locks and gates," "Daily inspection of traffic control devices," and "Night lighting or security service." The area of the site I ended up driving into had none of those things: no fences, no gates, no roadblocks, no signage, no lighting, no security.
So...are the statutes I uncovered relevant? Is this ANSI standard relevant? Does anyone know of anything more specific I should be reading about or anyone else I should be contacting at this point? Thanks for any help anyone can give me with this!