Construction Site Accidents: Workers Continue to Be Killed and Injured on the Job
By Dean I Weitzman, Esq. on February 2nd, 2013
Every day in America, about two construction workers are killed in their workplaces as they build structures, operate powerful and dangerous equipment and perform many other jobs in their work sites.
It happens all the time.
On Jan. 28, one worker was killed in Frisco, Texas, when a trench collapsed while he was working in it, according to a story on StarLocalNews.com. The worker was helping to install a water line in the trench under a street, the story reported.
In Queens, N. Y., a 42-year-old construction worker died Jan. 24 when he fell through a floor in an apartment building and struck his head on a steel girder below, according to a story in the New York Daily News. The victim “was braving bone-chilling 12-degree temperatures on the Broadway site near 45th St. around 4 p.m. when he fell through the hole in the first floor, plummeting 15-feet to the basement below,” the paper reported.
On Jan. 16, a 33-year-old plumber in Nebraska was killed when he was caught in a trench collapse in Hastings, Neb., according to a story in The Lincoln Journal Star.
In 2011, 721 workers were killed on the job in the construction industry, according to 2011 statistics, which are the latest available figures available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).
Those 721 construction workers made up 17.5 percent of the 4,609 workers who were killed on the job in all types of businesses and industries that year. That’s up slightly from 4,551 employee fatalities across the nation in 2009, but it’s the second lowest annual total since the fatal injury census was first conducted in 1992, according to the Labor Department.
“Every day in America, 13 people go to work and never come home,” former U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said during a Workers Memorial day speech on April 26, 2012. “Every year in America, nearly 4 million people suffer a workplace injury from which some may never recover. These are preventable tragedies that disable our workers, devastate our families, and damage our economy. American workers are not looking for a handout or a free lunch. They are looking for a good day’s pay for a hard day’s work. They just want to go to work, provide for their families, and get home in one piece.”
Overall, though, those numbers are an improvement, according to federal statistics.
In comparison,things were even more dangerous for workers across the nation back in 1970, when the daily death rate for U.S. workers on the job each day was almost three times the number of workers who died each day in the last few years, said OSHA Assistant Secretary of Labor David Michaels in a speech about OSHA’s creation and oversight in April 2012.
“Forty years of common-sense standards and strong enforcement, training, outreach and compliance assistance have saved thousands of lives and prevented countless injuries,” said Michaels. “Just look at the difference: In 1970, 38 workers were killed on the job every day in America; now it’s 13 a day. This is a great improvement, but it’s still 13 too many.”
In the construction industry in 2011, 57 percent of the 721 worker deaths were caused by one of four “Fatal Four” causes, according to OSHA — falls, electrocution, being struck by an object, and being caught-in or between machines or structures. Falls were involved in 251 construction worker fatalities, while electrocutions caused another 67 deaths. Seventy-three workers died when they were struck by objects, while 19 were killed when they were caught in or between machines or structures.
Not all construction related accidents, of course, cause deaths. In many other cases in January across the U.S., construction workers were seriously injured in workplace accidents.
A construction worker’s arm was severely injured Jan. 25 when the limb was apparently pinned under a dump truck’s bucket near Lynden, Wash., according to a story in The Bellingham (Wash.) Herald.
Seven construction workers were injured Jan. 9 in Long Island City, N.Y., when a 300-foot construction crane collapsed at their work site, according to a story in The Queens (N.Y.) Chronicle.
“According to initial reports from the Department of Buildings, the mobile crane’s boom was attempting to lift a load that was more than double its maximum capacity for the unit — at a weight of 23,900 pounds,” the paper reported.
If you or someone you love is employed in the construction industry, you certainly know that a serious construction-related accident can be debilitating for the rest of your life, affecting your personal mobility, earning potential and your livelihood. That’s not something that you want to take lightly.
We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or someone you love is ever seriously injured in a worksite, workplace or construction accident anywhere in the United States. At MyPhillyLawyer, you can consult with a qualified, experienced and compassionate attorney to explore all of your legal rights.
We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.
Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.
When Winning Matters Most, call MyPhillyLawyer.