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The Fatal Four: Construction Site Hazards That Cause the Most Deaths

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Construction sites tend to be dangerous with the safety of its workers constantly at risk. This is particularly the case when construction companies, building owners and contractors are lax or don’t make it a priority to provide safety training to all workers and equip them with much-needed protective devices. Construction accidents have the potential to result in major injuries and fatalities. While there are a number of reasons why construction accidents can happen at a worksite, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) outlines the four most common dangers construction workers face on a daily basis.

What are the “Fatal Four?”

According to OSHA, here are the four main causes of construction accident fatalities and potential solutions to alleviate each of these hazards:

1. Falls

A vast majority of construction workers such as ironworkers, steelworkers, carpenters, masons, laborers or electricians tend to work from an elevation or height by using scaffolds, platforms, ladders etc. In 2017, falls accounted for 381 out of 971 deaths in the construction industry, which represents 39.2 percent of all fatalities in the industry. OSHA estimates that about 100,000 injuries each year in the construction industry may be attributed to falls.

The best way to prevent falls in construction sites is to properly protect workers by providing guardrails and toe-boards as well as fall protective devices such as safety harnesses, safety nets and handrails. Workers must receive training on how to use personal protective devices in a language they can understand well.

2. Struck-by Incidents

After falls, the second leading cause of construction fatalities is workers being struck by falling or flying objects. We see this happen very often in New York City construction sites where in addition to workers, bystanders or passersby are also struck and injured by debris or tools from a construction site. Workers may suffer injuries as a result of being struck by objects falling from heights such as a suspended load coming loose.

They may be hit by flying objects such as tools or debris, or rolling objects such as vehicles or heavy equipment in motion. In these types of incidents, workers are often caught off guard and may not have enough time to react or get out of the way. Using safety glasses, goggles or a face shield when they use power tools can protect workers. Tools and materials should always be secured. Workers and visitors to the site should wear hard hats to protect their heads.

3. Electrocution

Getting electrocuted on a construction site is the third leading cause of fatal construction site accidents. In 2017, 71 people died of electrocutions in the construction industry, accounting for 7.3 percent of the total number of construction deaths that year. Again, these types of injuries and fatalities can be prevented by taking appropriate safety measures. Construction companies and contractors should provide proper safety training and personal protective equipment to workers. Supervisors at worksites should ensure that there are no live power lines in the area before work commences.

4. Caught In/Between

These are horrific accidents where a worker’s body or body part is caught, crushed or squeezed between two or more objects. These incidents may occur as a result of collapsing materials at a worksite such as a wall. It may occur when body parts are pulled into unguarded machinery. In order to prevent these types of accidents it is important that workers receive safety training and machines have appropriate guards at all times.

Compensation for Injured Workers

Workers who are injured in construction accidents may be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits, which typically cover medical and drug expenses and a portion of lost wages. Families that have lost loved ones in a construction accident may be able to seek death benefits. In addition, workers and their families may be able to file a third-party lawsuit for substantial money damages against a number of parties, and therefore have two sources of compensation.

Third-party claims are filed against parties other than the employer or co-employees and may include general contractors, sub-contractors, building owners, managing agents, construction companies, etc. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost income and benefits, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitative treatment, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc.

Contacting an Experienced Lawyer

If you have suffered injuries in a construction accident, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you. Our law firm recovered $3,375,576 for a construction worker (an undocumented immigrant) who was injured on the job – one of the highest construction case settlements in New York that year. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.

Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.

Other TOLL FREE phone numbers for us are:

1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES

Please visit us at: www.WORK4YOULAW.com

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