We’ve all heard the necessity of destroying to create, which sounds fine when talking about the pyramids, but becomes ominous when applied to contemporary construction sites. The outlook for construction workers is not so good. Every day in the U.S., at least two construction workers are killed on the job, and more than 150,000 workers are injured every year. Because construction equipment and supplies are heavy and often suspended or frequently moved, many of these injuries are very severe and often involve back and spinal damage, and the majority of injuries occur in workers between 25 and 34 years of age.
The causes of these injuries are really no surprise, yet they continue year after year. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has identified what they call the “Fatal Four” causes that account for almost 60% of all construction-related injuries. These causes are falls, electrocutions, falling objects and dangerous machinery incidents. Of the “Fatal Four,” workplace falls account for 36% of all accidents, according to OSHA. Yet, despite years of awareness campaigns and onsite training, the number of injuries persists.
Some might overlook the danger, claiming that it comes with the profession. Workers know what they are getting into, and they are paid well as a result of putting themselves into dangerous professions. But with over eight million Americans employed in construction, the inherently dangerous environment is simply not acceptable, and construction companies could easily reduce these numbers by adding extra safeguards, particularly fall protection.
Since the causes of construction site accidents are well known, and because construction companies are fully aware of the dangers their workers face, it is often arguable that worker injuries are the result of employer negligence. When safety standards are sacrificed for speed, workers always lose. Sometimes a company’s culture leads to accidents by creating pressure on workers to take chances in order to get the job done faster. Injuries sustained as a result of employer practices go beyond worker’s compensation claims, and employers who sacrifice worker safety for the sake of expediency should be held accountable.
As most construction workers are young, and because so many work-related accidents involve back and spinal injuries, workers can be left with a lifetime of disability. And whatever the circumstances, any injury or death that can be prevented but isn’t should require that someone be held accountable. If you or a loved one is such a victim, always know that there are options.
Bailey & Oliver Law Firm has handled personal injury and work-related accident claims for decades. Read more about Wade Walters, a worker at Arkansas Nuclear One killed by hasty procedures and unnecessary risk, on our blog (http://www.baileyoliverlawfirm.com/news/2015/jun/09/wrongful-deaththe-story-of-wa/). We ensure that those who have suffered injustice find compensation for their injuries, and we hold the responsible parties accountable for their negligence. If you, a loved one, or a client, seek justice for a work-related injury, call the Bailey & Oliver team today. Bailey & Oliver Law Firm (479) 202-5200.
Occupational Health and Safety Administration. (n.d.). Retrieved February 22, 2016, from https://www.osha.gov