On site Fatalities
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction site accidents accounted for 19.3% of all fatalities among U.S workers in 2012. Of these, statistics show that the leading causes of death on construction sites were attributed to falls, followed by “struck by” an object, electrocution and “caught-in between”. OSHA terms these as the, “Fatal Four”, responsible for 54.2% of the construction fatalities that year.
A 2006-2008 study of non-fatal construction accident claims by type found that falls comprised 25% of all claims resulting in an average of 65 days out of work. Construction site falls commonly include roof related falls, crane falls, scaffolding falls, elevator shaft falls, falls resulting from holes in flooring, and falling objects. Workers accidentally struck by construction site equipment followed at 23% with a resulting average 27 days off of the job.
In 2010, a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the US Department of Labor found 3.1 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported that year; or 3.5 cases per 100 full-time employees.
In both fatal and non-fatal construction accidents, the majority were the result of negligence on the part of the company, through violations of OSHA standards. In 2013 OSHA listed the following as the top 10 most frequently cited workplace standards violations.
- 1926.501 – Fall Protection
- 1910.1200 – Hazard Communication
- 1926.451 – Scaffolding
- 1910.134 – Respiratory Protection
- 1910.305 – Electrical, Wiring Methods
- 1910.178 – Powered Industrial Trucks
- 1926.1053 – Ladders
- 1910.147 – Lockout/Tag out
- 1910.303 – Electrical, General Requirements
- 1910.212 – Machine Guarding
Concluding that adhering to OSHA standards would save on average 437 workers lives per year.
Other factors commonly cited as causes of construction accidents or injury:
- Defective Equipment
- Extreme Weather Conditions
- Forklift Accidents
- Hazardous Chemicals
- Insufficient Supervision
- Insufficient Training
- Lack of or Inadequate Protection
- Lack of a Workplace Safety Program
- Nail Gun Punctures
- Scaffolding Collapse
- Trench Collapse
- Repetitive Motion
- Welding Burns
Impact on Families
The most devastating of the non-fatal accidents suffered on a construction site are amputations, burns, crush injuries, paralysis and traumatic brain injury, and these often result in permanent disability. Other injuries, such as broken bones, concussion and puncture wounds can average in a month or more out of work. In all cases, loss or injury of the worker who is likely the main income earner has a profound financial and emotional impact on the family.
Compensation may be available above and beyond workers compensation benefits
Many states require employers to carry worker’s compensation insurance, and some states have set up general workers’ compensation funds into which employers are required to contribute. However, workers compensation offers no compensation for what are often the most significant aspects of an injury – physical pain, mental and emotional suffering – and only partial compensation for lost wages and lost earning capacity. In many cases, though, there are significant additional benefits that may be available outside the workers compensation system. A worker can, in certain situations, also recover damages from parties who are partially or completely at fault for their accident. These other parties can include the general contractor, subcontractors, the owner of the project, and others. In some states, proof that a construction safety regulation was violated alone can mean that the worker will be able to recover for his or her injuries.
Also, a construction worker injured because he or she was furnished a defective tool, ladder, scaffolding or other equipment may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer and/or seller of these items. The responsible party may be held liable for damages, which may include recovery far beyond workers compensation benefits.
We Are Here To Help. If you, or someone you know has been seriously injured in a construction job related accident, please contact Charnas Law Firm, P.C. for a free case review. We may be able to help you recover full and complete compensation for all your suffering and losses, for both you and your family, as a result of a serious construction accident. Scott Charnas can review your case and advise according to your state laws. He has won substantial compensation for construction workers in multiple states, and has lectured other lawyers in how to handle construction accident cases.
As always, there is no fee for a consultation.