The construction industry is notorious for dangerous working conditions. From navigating busy construction sites filled with numerous hazards to performing high-risk job duties, construction workers face greater risks of suffering harm than most workers in the U.S. In fact, statistics from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), show construction makes for some of the highest accident risks of any profession – especially in terms of fatal outcomes. For example:
- Of the more than 4,600 work-related deaths in the private industry in 2016, nearly a quarter (over 21%) were in construction.
- In 2016, roughly one in five worker deaths were in construction.
Although there are many types of construction accidents and numerous ways workers can suffer serious and even fatal injuries, OSHA-collected data has helped us understand where the greatest risks exist. In fact, a few general types of construction accidents so commonly account for worker deaths that OSHA refers to them as the “Fatal Four.” These include falls, being struck by an object, electrocution, and caught-in / between accidents.
Here are some key details about construction’s “Fatal Four”
- The numbers – The “Fatal Four” consistently account for the majority of construction deaths, and were responsible for over half (63.7%) of construction worker fatalities in 2016. As OSHA notes, eliminating the Fatal Four would save over 630 lives in the U.S. each year.
- Falls – Construction workers commonly work from heights, whether that’s from a ladder, scaffolding, or unfinished structure. According to OSHA, nearly 40% of all construction deaths involve falls.
- Struck by object – Struck-by accidents account for roughly 9% of construction fatalities. These accidents involve any type of object, from tools and heavy equipment like cranes to debris, which produce injuries by forcible impact. OSHA classifies struck-by hazards into four categories: falling objects, flying objects, swinging objects, and rolling objects.
- Electrocutions – Electrocution is the third-leading cause of death on construction sites, accounting for roughly 8% of all construction fatalities. Workers face electrocution risks in a variety of ways, from working on sites with power lines or live and exposed wiring to working with certain power tools, heavy equipment, machinery, and even defective products.
- Caught-in / between – Accidents involving construction workers becoming caught-in or between an object account for approximately 7% of construction deaths. These accidents, unlike struck-by events, involve injuries created as a result of crushing forces between objects. Examples include cave-ins, being caught in or pulled into machinery, and being crushed between shifting, sliding, or rolling objects, such as a semi-trailer and dock wall.
Fatal Construction Accidents: Pursuing Compensation
Families who lose a loved one as a result of fatal construction accidents experience profound and deeply personal setbacks. Although legal action may do little to make amends for the loss of a loved one, it is often vital to helping families secure needed compensation to make ends meet. In cases involving fatal construction accidents which result from negligent or wrongful acts, legal action can also provide families with a sense of justice by holding at-fault parties accountable for their failures, and potentially prompt needed changes to protect others from suffering similar fates.
At Todd Miner Law, our legal team can help families who lose loved ones in fatal construction accidents, as well as injured construction workers hurt in non-fatal incidents, explore their rights to pursue compensation through civil personal injury or wrongful death claims. While these civil legal actions can provide a broader scope of compensation not typically available through workers’ compensation insurance, they do require victims to prove that another party – such as a third-party contractor or manufacturer of a defective product – was negligent in causing the accident.
Because exploring your rights after a construction accident can be a difficult endeavor, our legal team is available to review your case, discuss your available options, and explain how we may be able to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. To request a free and confidential consultation, call (407) 269-5877 or contact us today.