Construction: The Most Dangerous Industry?
Did you drive on a road, enter a building, or walk on a sidewalk today? If you did, you were using something built, repaired, or maintained by construction workers. The handiwork of construction workers is something we experience and utilize every day. However, the struggles of construction workers, particularly their hazardous workplaces, often go unnoticed.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 1,386,400 people work in the construction industry in the United States. Their jobs include everything from building towering apartment complexes to filing in potholes on the road. The industry is predominately male, and many workers are Hispanic and Latino.
Because their industry involves hazards like heights and heavy machinery, construction is a very dangerous job. In 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that construction accidents accounted for 937 deaths. That is a fatality rate of 22.8 deaths per every 100,000 employees. Roofers and electricians were the groups most affected by on-the-job injuries and fatalities.
The Fatal Four
According to the Occupations Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are four main causes of construction accidents, dubbed the “fatal four.” They are:
By far, falls are the most common accidents in construction settings. At a work-site, causes of falls include unstable ladders, weak scaffolding, or slips on uneven surfaces. When a worker’s job involves heights, like repairing the roof of an apartment building, a fall can easily be fatal, or lead to a serious injury like paralysis.
In 2014, electrocutions accounted for about 8.2% of all construction deaths. In daily life, electricity is all around us. At a construction site the chances of electrocution increase, because electric wires might be exposed, frayed, or broken. While doing a job that requires digging into the ground, they might come into contact with an exposed wire. Certain construction professions, like utility pole maintenance and repair, put workers at an even higher risk of electrocution or electric shock.
- Struck by object
At a construction site, there is often a lot of heavy equipment and debris. Injuries could be caused by errant pieces of machinery, falling beams or other materials, or debris like rocks or metal. If a worker is struck in the head or neck by an object, they could experience paralysis or head trauma. Similarly, hits to other parts of the body might cause internal bleeding.
- Caught in/between accidents
These types of accidents occur when a worker is trapped or crushed by a piece of equipment or debris. For example, they could be pinned behind a wall by a heavy machine, or become trapped if roof beams collapse.
Workers’ Compensation Options
To prevent accidents and fatalities, constriction supervisors should be sure there is adequate protection in place. This includes harnesses and railings to prevent falls, and proper procedures when dealing with electricity, heavy materials, or heavy machinery. Workers should not work in dangerous conditions, like working on a narrow walkway during rainy weather or operating heavy machinery during low visibility. While their work is often important to the wellbeing and convenience of others, construction workers should still be treated with the same respect as workers in any other field.
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.