May 2022 (Chicago, IL)
Construction sites are filled with hidden dangers and hazardous conditions that put even the most safety-conscious construction workers at risk for serious injury and death. Even when every precaution is taken and despite increasing focus on construction safety, the construction industry is inherently risky and remains among the most dangerous in which to work due to the high risk of accidents. With large trucks, machinery, equipment, and debris constantly being hauled to and from the work area, construction sites tend to be rapidly changing environments. Multiple people may be working together to complete a project, including contractors or sub-contractors for employers with different training and communication practices.
Because of the many hazards faced by construction workers, construction site accidents contribute to a disproportionate number of workplace fatalities. The statistics are staggering. Safety and Health Magazine reports that nearly every construction worker will experience at least one serious accident in his or her lifetime. And during a 45-year career in construction, a worker has about a 75% chance of suffering a disabling injury and a 1 in 200 chance of being killed on the job. According to OSHA, one in five worker deaths is in construction.
Although there are countless different ways a construction workers may suffer an injury on the job, OSHA has identified the four most common types of construction accidents resulting in deaths – classified as “The Fatal Four.”
The Four Fatal Causes of Accidents in Construction
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the leading causes of accidents in construction are falls, being struck by an object, electrocutions, and caught in or between accidents. Often referred to as “The Fatal Four,” the types of accidents outlined below are the leading causes of death in the construction industry.
OSHA includes both falls from heights and slips and trips in this category. With high-level scaffolding, ladders and fall hazards around nearly every turn, falls are a major risk for workers, inspectors and even property owners and managers. Most falls on construction sites are the result of uneven surfaces, improper mounting and dismounting from equipment, improper ladder use or from the lack of using fall protection equipment. Slips and trips are often caused by misplaced items or spills and leaks.
According to OSHA, approximately 65% of the construction industry works while on scaffolds. Because construction workers often perform their jobs from elevated places such as scaffolding, rooftops, or ladders, falling from high places is the number one most common construction accident, accounting for nearly 35% of all construction injuries.
There are several reasons why construction workers fall from high places:
- Hazardous scaffolding equipment
- Unsafe or unstable ladders
- Faulty equipment
- Lack of fall prevention safety equipment
Being Struck by an Object
OSHA defines this type of construction injury as the impact between a worker and an object or equipment part, i.e. being hit by a machine or falling materials. Struck-by incidents often involve cranes, a type of machine that can be used to lift, lower, move, and transport heavy materials. Unfortunately, cranes can overturn, collapse, or hit a worker while moving, raising, or lowering a load. Crane loads can also fall suddenly, crushing anyone underneath.
Until a construction project is complete, there are often exposed wires, unfinished electrical systems, and downed power lines on a job site. Contact with live wires is the most common reason for electrocution-related deaths within the construction industry. Live wires can be present in circuit breakers, control panels, light fixtures, transformers, and underground cabling. But electricians and power line workers are not the only ones at risk of injury. Laborers, mechanics, HVAC professionals, and roofers are also frequently in contact with overhead or underground lines. Although severe burns are the most common result of electrocution, it can also lead to nerve damage, cardiac arrest, and death.
Caught In or Between Accidents
These types of accidents occur when a worker is caught between two or more objects, i.e. when a vehicle traps a person against a wall, a body part is pulled into machinery or materials collapse on the worker. Such incidents can also include mobile machinery rollovers and cave-ins from unprotected trenches. Even when materials do not fall and directly strike a worker, they can trap him or her between a wall and the material, causing broken ribs or cutting off a worker’s oxygen intake. Caught-in or between accidents can happen anywhere but will result in the injured victim getting caught, crushed, squeezed, pinched, or comnewsed between two or more objects.
Legal Options for Construction Accident Victims
Despite evolving safety standards and an increasing focus on construction safety, many of the accidents outlined above occur because of someone’s negligence or careless actions. As such, many of these accidents could have been prevented.
Our construction accident attorneys represent victims in Chicago and the surrounding communities who have suffered significant injuries in construction accidents. While workers’ compensation insurance in Illinois is designed to cover some of the costs associated with worksite injuries regardless of fault, the coverage is limited and often does not compensate victims for all of the damages incurred. Whether you or a loved one is facing a construction accident case, our attorneys are passionate about getting to the bottom of construction site accidents to ensure that victims receive full compensation from every liable entity.
With the myriad of parties who are typically involved at construction sites, identifying all of the entities who played a part in the dangerous conditions that caused your injury requires ample amounts of experience, knowledge and dedication. General contractors, vendors, equipment manufacturers, property owners, managers and even delivery truck drivers are frequently regulars on a job site; their direct actions, faulty equipment or negligent acts are sometimes factors in serious accidents that cost victims much more than a workers’ comp claim will pay. As experienced construction accident attorneys in Chicago, we conduct thorough investigations to determine every factor that played a part in your injuries, establish who may be liable, and help you seek damages from those who should be held accountable.
Some of the damages our construction accident clients receive include:
- Lost past and future wages and benefits
- Compensation for ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitation
- Payment for special accommodations in your home
- Compensation for pain and suffering
For a confidential consultation about your construction accident case, call us at 312-655-7660 or fill out our online form at https://danherbertlaw.com/contact/. This consultation is free, and we won’t collect a fee for any services until we recover compensation for your case.
To learn more about our personal injury legal services, please visit our website at https://danherbertlaw.com/practices/personal-injury/.