Construction sites can be some of the most promising places, symbolizing growth, innovation, creativity, stewardship and work ethic. The construction industry provides jobs to over eight million Americans who work together for the benefit of society as a whole. But despite the wonderful opportunities construction jobs provide, there are also many dangerous aspects of those jobs.
Every day in the U.S., at least two construction workers are killed on the job. Additionally, every year more than 150,000, or one in ten, construction workers are injured. Workers handle heavy equipment and supplies that are often suspended and frequently moved, making them unpredictable and more likely to result in severe injury. Many of these injuries involve back and spinal damage, and the majority of these injuries occur in workers between 25 and 34 years of age.
Despite additional safety procedures, onsite training programs, and tremendous efforts to raise awareness of industry risks, the number of injuries still persists. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has identified what they call the “Fatal Four” causes of construction-related deaths. These “Fatal Four” account for almost 60 percent of all construction-related injuries, and include falls, falling objects, electrocutions, and “caught-in/between” incidents. Of these four categories, falls are the leading cause of fatal construction injuries, accounting for nearly 40 percent of all construction-related deaths—yet the most violated OSHA standard is fall protection.
As most construction workers are young, and so many work-related accidents involve back and spinal injuries, injured workers may be left with a lifetime of disability. The construction industry is No. 2 in the United States for fatal injuries in workers younger than 18, and 60 percent of all construction-related injuries occur within the employee’s first year of employment. These statistics if played out in the real world would have a devastating impact on the health, happiness, earning capacity and overall quality of life of the injured person.
Because construction companies are fully aware of the dangers their workers face, it is often arguable that worker injuries are the result of employer negligence. In some cases, a company’s culture may contribute to accidents by putting pressure on its employees to get the job done faster. Unfortunately, when safety standards are sacrificed for the sake of speed, the worker will always be the one to lose. With millions of Americans employed in construction, any additional risk to this inherently dangerous environment is simply not acceptable, and construction companies could easily reduce these numbers by adding extra safeguards. Whatever the circumstances may be, injury or death that can be prevented, but isn’t, requires holding someone accountable. If you or a loved one is such a victim, always know there are options.
The attorneys at Scott, Vicknair, Hair and Checki have represented many workers who have been injured at construction sites due to someone else’s negligence. A construction accident case can be complicated and often requires a team of attorneys. If you or someone you know has been hurt in a construction accident, it is recommended that you seek experienced counsel immediately.
Occupational Health and Safety Administration
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. (n.d.). Retrieved July 07, 2017
The Center for Construction Research and Training
Stafford, P. (16, March 28). CPWR EXTRA - Next Week, Stand Down to Stop Construction Falls. Retrieved July 07, 2017
U.S. National Library of Medicine
Suruda, A., Philips, P., Lillquist, D., & Sesek, R. (2003, November). Fatal injuries to teenage construction workers in the US. Retrieved July 07, 2017
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Root, N. (n.d.). Injuries at Work are Fewer Among Older Employees. Retrieved July 7, 2017