Construction Site Injuries: An All Too Common Occurrence
Though workplace accidents are possible in any profession, construction sites are a hotbed for injuries. At any given moment, there is an opportunity for worker injury or death if proper maintenance and employee protocol is not followed. According to the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 828 fatalities occurred on private industry construction sites in 2013. This accounts for about 20% of all workplace deaths. These numbers do not even begin to represent the suffering that loved ones endure when a family member is seriously injured or killed. When these incidents occur due to the negligence of a third party, the courts can ensure that the victim and his family receive the compensation that they are due.
OSHA’s Fatal Four
OSHA lists four types of common construction site accidents as the most deadly for employees.
Falls reportedly account for about 35% of all construction site deaths. It is also interesting to note that fall protection, scaffolding requirements and ladder misuse are three of the most commonly cited construction violations. When site managers do not adequately maintain the integrity of equipment like scaffolding, ladders and elevator shafts, accidents can occur. Failure to take dangerous weather into consideration can also lead to employee accidents.
Workers struck by objects account for about 10% of all construction site deaths. This may occur because machine guarding requirements rank among the top ten for site violations. Equipment used on construction sites is motorized and heavy duty. Inadequate worker training and defective operations can cause parts or materials to become missiles if thrown through the air. Workers are also at risk of objects falling from elevated construction areas.
Electrocutions account for almost 9% of all deaths. Again, OSHA reports that safety measures put in place to guard against these accidents are frequently violated. Electrical wiring is the seventh most common violation. Exposed wires and failing to label wires correctly can both prove hazardous. Electrical system design violations are also common on construction sites.
Workers caught in construction site equipment represent the fourth most common cause of these employee fatalities, accounting for about 2.5%. These accidents may occur when a worker becomes entangled in a faulty machine or crushed by a large construction vehicle.
Under Florida law, when construction accidents occur, workers can file a workers’ compensation claim with their employer. However, if the accident is caused by the negligence of a third party, the injured worker can also pursue a liability claim against that party. For example, if a worker is injured by a piece of equipment due to a design flaw, the worker may be able to secure compensation from the manufacturer of the equipment. In very limited situations, an injured worker may also be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the employer, but it is best to consult with an experienced attorney to determine if this is an option in your case.
If you or your loved one was the victim of a construction site accident in the West Palm Beach area, our personal injury attorneys at Gary Roberts & Associate, P.A. can provide you with skilled representation. Reach out to us today for an initial consultation and to learn how we can be of assistance.