While construction work may not be the most glamorous profession, it is essential to the functioning of our country, and without construction workers, we would not have the safe spaces to work, live, and travel that we often take for granted. Construction workers are needed to complete a wide range of projects such as building and maintaining government infrastructure, developing residential housing, and everything in between; however, regardless of a project’s character, the risk of a construction accident is never far from workers on the job.
How and Why Construction Site Accidents Occur
When construction companies protect their workers diligently and employ precautionary measures routinely during projects, they can help manage the risk of construction site accidents; but injuries and deaths are still unfortunately common. According to OSHA, the construction industry accounts for over 20% of all workplace fatalities in the U.S. Although there are an innumerable amount of ways a construction site accident can occur, the majority of fatalities (58.6%) are caused by four deadly types of accidents referred to in the construction industry as the ‘Fatal Four’; falls, struck by object accidents (e.g. debris), electrocutions, and caught-in/between accidents.
Other common types of accidents on construction sites include:
- Machinery related accidents (g. bulldozers, jackhammers, cranes)/equipment failure
- Worker injuries as a result of overexertion (g. heat stroke, fainting, dehydration, sleepiness)
- Uncontrolled/unintended fires and explosions resulting in burns or fatalities
- Highway construction workers hit by a speeding, tired, or otherwise impaired driver
- Diseases stemming from exposure to harmful chemicals, toxins, or pathogens (g. mesothelioma, malignant primary cardiac tumors – heart cancer, lung cancer)
- Ground collapses/falling in uncovered and unmarked manholes, shafts, etc.
U.S Department of Labor (OSHA) Workplace Standards
Signed into law by former President Richard Nixon, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) was created to protect workers from dangerous working conditions by both holding employers to a higher standard, or duty, of care for their workers, and improving the federal government’s means of accountability. OSHA is an administration under the Department of Labor responsible for ensuring worker safety. Since 1970, OSHA has worked to mitigate unnecessary risk in the workplace by providing mandated training programs, educational resources, and industry standards regarding safety in the workplace.
Due to the large degree of risk inherently tied to construction work, OSHA has strict industry guidelines to protect workers from unnecessary dangers; however, unfortunately, construction companies commonly neglect or even willingly ignore these policies at the expense of their employees’ health. According to OSHA’s 2019 federal inspection data, the 10 most frequent safety standards violated at construction sites are:
- Fall protection
- Communication of hazards
- Scaffolding general requirements
- Control of hazardous energy
- Respiratory protection
- Ladder safety general requirements
- Powered industrial trucks (i.e. forklifts or lift trucks)
- Fall protection training general requirements
- Machinery and machine guarding (i.e. moving machine parts and safeguards)
- Eye and face protection
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a construction accident, it is crucial you seek representation from an experienced and trustworthy legal team. At Halperin & Halperin P.C., we have over 40 years of experience protecting victims of construction accidents, and our attorneys have successfully litigated even the most challenging of cases.
We take pride in treating every prospective client like family, and if we cannot help you directly, we will find someone who can. Call or email us today for a free consultation.