WHAT ARE SOME IMPORTANT STATISTICS REGARDING CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT INJURIES?
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one in 10 workers in this industry are hurt every year. With more than 800 annual deaths, it is considered one of the most dangerous occupations in the country. On average, that comes out to more than two deaths a day. In some ways, this isn’t a surprise, given the sheer number of workers in the industry and the rate at which municipalities take on additional projects. However, most of the worst injuries could be prevented if workplaces were inspected for and organized around safety.
WHAT GENERALLY CAUSES CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT INJURIES?
OSHA calls the four most common causes of industry incidents the “fatal four,” as they are present in nearly 60 percent of all fatal disasters. These include falls (37 percent of all fatalities), being struck by an object (10 percent), electrocution (9 percent) and being caught between objects (2.5 percent). If work sites could eliminate these risks from the equation, nearly 500 workers’ lives would be saved annually.
One of OSHA’s functions is to investigate incidents after they occur and determine if any safety violations were present at the time of the disaster. Unfortunately, safety violations plague the industry. Among the most common safety violations are a lack of fall protection, inadequate warning signage or warning communication, improper erection of scaffolding, lack of respiratory protection, and improper setup and maintenance of electrical controls. These aren’t unavoidable oversights; they are direct violations of the regulations that OSHA has setup in conjunction with industry experts.
However, OSHA can only lightly enforce these regulations with fines that tend to be paltry compared to the money a company can save by ignoring its workers’ safety. This is one reason employers must be held accountable when they gamble with their workers’ lives.
HOW SEVERE CAN CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT INJURIES BE?
Even a fall from a short height can leave lasting injuries, and most incidents are more than just a slight tumble. Falls from scaffolding and being hit by heavy objects can result in severe trauma, including debilitating injuries to the spine or brain. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are capable of permanently disabling a person, leaving them without the ability to work or take care of themselves.
Electrocution can stop a worker’s heart or result in severe burns, which can lead to chronic pain or disfiguring scars, or the loss of life. Crushing injuries, usually caused by being caught between objects, can kill a person outright, break multiple bones, or cause massive organ damage.
In short, with the presence of heavy machinery, hazardous materials and work vehicles, injuries in this industry are often devastating.
WHAT SHOULD A VICTIM DO IF THEY ARE HURT WHILE ON THE JOB?
As soon as an incident occurs, employers often go into damage control mode to limit their losses. Injured workers are often coerced into signing away their ability to file a claim, especially when other parties may be involved in the suit. To keep these tactics from affecting the outcome of a case, an injured worker should consider contacting a personal injury attorney experienced in these matters.