Construction work is inherently dangerous and puts workers at risk of serious injury on the job, even when safety protocols and regulations are strictly followed. There are many hazards that come with the occupation, such as the risk of electrocution, being struck by falling objects, exposure to toxic chemicals, falls and unsafe equipment. And although workers are covered by worker’s compensation, there are monetary caps on benefits that an injured worker can receive.
What are the “fatal four”?
As recently as 2018, one in five job site fatalities in private industry were construction worker deaths. The leading cause of death in the construction industry was due to falls, which accounted for a full third of the cases. The potential hazards for falls are many: poorly secured scaffolding, hidden gaps, or unmarked or concealed holes.
After falls, the three other primary sources of construction industry fatalities are electrocution, being struck by an object, and “caught-in/between”, or being caught in machinery or crushed by a collapsed structure or equipment. Called the “fatal four”, these four causes contribute to more than 50 percent of construction worker deaths.
While the overall occupational death rates have been steadily climbing across the country, states where there is heavy urban sprawl or heavy natural resources extraction have a greater number of fatal occupational injuries. In 2018, California was the state with the second highest number of fatal occupational injuries.
Can you file a personal injury claim for a construction injury?
OSHA regulations protect workers by requiring contractors and managers to adhere to a standard of safety and hazard prevention that provides safe conditions at the workplace. If the employer is not implementing these measures, however, and you are injured on the job as a direct result of unsafe working conditions, there may be cause for filing a claim.
Although worker’s compensation is an insurance that covers claims for any reason up to a certain limit, it also shields employers from being sued by their employees. If an injured worker can show that the injury was caused by negligence on the part of the employer by proving that there was a breach of the duty the employer owed to their employees (for example, by failing to implement OSHA safety standards), that the company did not use reasonable care in the exercise of this duty, and that this caused the accident and injury, then the worker may have a successful suit.
Finding an attorney with experience in construction injury cases can help to determine whether a worker’s compensation or a personal injury claim is the best option.