Working construction is hard work, especially in Indiana and Illinois where construction workers have to deal with severe weather conditions so much of the time. Earning a living as a construction worker is to be respected and commended: many of these workers are professional craftsman, tradesman, and artisans. Often, construction workers dedicate their lives and careers to the building trades, and it’s not uncommon to see family members over several generations working construction as a tradition.
Construction Is Very Dangerous Work
According to federal government studies, working construction is the most dangerous kind of work you can do in America. One in five worker fatalities (20%) are people dying while working on the job doing construction.
The main reason that construction workers die on the job is from FALLS. Over a third of construction worker deaths are from injuries sustained in a fall on a construction job site.
Taken together with another three types of injuries, falls make up the “Fatal Four” causes of construction worker fatalities. Those three are:
STRUCK BY AN OBJECT
These are deaths that result from being hit by falling objects as the construction worker is on the job and is hit by things like tools or building materials fall on the worker, or when during the course of doing their work, objects fly out and hit the worker.
Death by electrocution happens when a worker is exposed to a fatal level of electricity or electrical energy.
Caught in/between dangers involve risks like: cave-ins; limbs pulled into machinery; body hit by cranes and other construction equipment; body parts caught and hurt in equipment & ﬁxed objects.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), over half of all construction worker deaths are caused by the FATAL FOUR.
Federal Regulations to Try and Stop Construction Site Injuries
Recognizing that construction work is so dangerous, there have been many federal and state laws and regulations passed to try and force construction companies and site managers to keep construction workers safe on the job.
Still, construction workers are faced with dangerous conditions and high risk work environments every day in our country. All too often because construction companies are negligent or decide to put profits over people, construction workers die while working on the job — despite all these legal protections being in place.
These include the following regulations, which were the Top 10 OSHA Regulations that were violated and cited in 2014:
- Fall protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501)
- Hazard communication standard, general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200)
- Scaffolding, general requirements, construction (29 CFR 1926.451)
- Respiratory protection, general industry (29 CFR 1910.134)
- Powered industrial trucks, general industry (29 CFR 1910.178)
- Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry (29 CFR 1910.147)
- Ladders, construction (29 CFR 1926.1053)
- Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment, general industry (29 CFR 1910.305)
- Machinery and Machine Guarding, general requirements (29 CFR 1910.212)
- Electrical systems design, general requirements, general industry (29 CFR 1910.303)
CONSTRUCTION WORKERS’ REMEDY UNDER STATE AND FEDERAL LAW
Construction workers who are hurt or killed on the job are protected by both federal and state law regarding their injuries. State workers compensation laws may help injured construction workers. Wrongful death statutes can help families of those who have been killed on the job in a construction site accident. Additional laws may provide help and justice, as well, including personal injury laws and product liability statutes.