In 2012, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) over 9 million workers suffered a construction injury. A company lawyer becomes involved with the incident in nearly 99% of all cases. Unfortunately, only about 8% of injured people seek legal counsel. First and foremost, companies protect their own interests. It is the responsibility of the wronged and harmed to protect their individual interests, and the playing field can be leveled by obtaining assistance from an experienced personal injury lawyer.
OSHA states that 4,628 workers were fatally harmed on the job during 2012. That breaks down, on average, to 12 deaths per day or 89 per work week. Contractors accounted for an estimated 15 percent of all fatalities. While daily fatalities are significantly down from the estimated 38 per day in 1970, the damages caused by workplace injuries and deaths remain just as traumatic today for the individual and their family.
There is a concept called the “Fatal Four” of construction injury. An experienced lawyer is well versed in the concept, especially if the attorney specializes in workplace related accidents. It is estimated that 437 lives would be saved simply by eliminating the Fatal Four in the workplace. The Fatal Four are:w
- Falls (Falls account for 34.6 percent of all workplace accidents)
- Struck by object (Flying, falling, and sliding objects account for 9.8 percent of all workplace accidents)
- Electrocutions (Electrocutions account for 8.1 percent of all workplace accidents)
- Caught in between (Compressions account for 1.6 percent of all workplace accidents)
Falls, slips, and trips cause more fatalities and injuries than any other cause. Weather hazards such ice, snow, and even rain makeup a large percentage of those accidents. However, contaminated walkways constitute a danger as well. Employee training and appropriate footwear are essential to reduce these potential hazards.
Falling, flying, or sliding objects may cause significant damages regardless of the distance traveled. Construction sites are filled with the potential for falling objects. It is the employer’s responsibility to keep dangerous work sites clear of civilian traffic. It is also important that the employer posts warnings and provides the right kind of protection equipment for those allowed in the area.
Electrocution and compression accidents commonly result in permanent damage or death. Electrocution happens unexpectedly. A frayed wire exposed to skin or water can have tragic consequences. Vertical and horizontal compression places a person between two solid objects and can be either full-body or partial. The employer is responsible for having proper warning signs posted in dangerous work zones.
Accidents happen. However, OSHA states that nearly 86 percent of all accidents can be avoided with proper workplace education and safety protocols. The employer should properly train and educate their employees and provide a safe workplace environment to avoid the risk of a construction injury. A lawyer that specializes in these incidents can be a champion for the employee when the company fails.