How to Prevent Construction Site Injuries
Chicago is one of many cities that relies heavily on skilled construction workers to expand its infrastructure. Working in the construction industry in Illinois means that workplace injuries are a real concern every day you go to work. According to OSHA, “Out of 4,674 worker fatalities in private industry in calendar year 2017, 971 or 20.7% were in construction — that is, one in five worker deaths last year were in construction.” Being injured on the job at least once, no matter the severity, throughout your constructor career is usually inevitable. But what do you do when you slip and fall or get injured by heavy machinery and it’s not your fault? There may be lots of uncertainty and stress if you are unable to work, especially if you are the sole earner for your family. Luckily, there are things you can do to not only protect yourself on the job, but also to legally protect yourself after the injury. In order to get the most compensation for your injuries, it’s in your best interest to be knowledgeable about your rights and best courses of action after an injury.
Construction’s “Fatal Four”
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) keeps a close eye on work-related injuries, especially when it comes to construction workers. According to OSHA, there are four main causes of construction worker injuries deemed the “Fatal Four.” These consist of:
- Struck by an object
OSHA claims that just by eliminating these fatal four, the lives of 582 workers in America would be saved every year. Clearly, this is a very important topic and many construction workers would benefit from some preventative measures, whether it be things they can do or things their employers can do.
Preventing Construction Accidents
According to a survey of American workers, construction workers are 27% more likely than other industries to worry about getting injured because of their job on a daily basis. A construction industry Site Safety and Health Officer responded to the survey saying that, “After becoming a safety officer, I have become aware that the most important job site safety issue is pre-planning, preparation and training. Most companies send new workers into the field without proper safety training… Planning for the overall job and the task at hand is often not done properly, and if done it is not communicated to the worker.” According to an investigation by The National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), the rise in construction site accidents is caused by a combination of too heavy equipment, inexperienced workers, and harsh conditions. Here are some tips on preventing the fatal four:
Falls contributed to 39.2% of deaths in the construction industry in 2017, making it the largest contributor. Ways to increase falls when using ladders, stairs, etc. include:
- Using harnesses
- Ensure stable ground underneath a ladder
- Add toe rails/handrails
- Require helmets and other protective gear
- Safety training
Struck by an Object
Workers being struck by an object contribute to 8.2% of the construction worker deaths in 2017. While this may not seem like a big deal compared to falls, being struck by an object can be extremely dangerous because workers are usually caught off-guard when this happens. Due to the nature of the accident, it can be a little bit harder to protect against. The easiest way to prevent injury is to wear protective gear at all times. Whether it be a hard hat, a face mask, eye protection, gloves, boots, reflective vest, etc.
Being electrocuted while on the job accounts for 7.3% of all construction site deaths. The easiest way to prevent electrocutions is to increase training around the topic. OSHA has become very strict in requiring electricity-related safety training in recent years. According to OSHA, the best way to work safely with electricity is to be trained on the following subjects:
- Arc flashes
- Lockout and tagout standards
- Personal protective equipment
- Testing before touching
Construction workers getting caught in, compressed, or crushed by equipment accounts for 5.1% of all construction-related deaths. This usually happens when equipment unexpectedly rolls over or is left unattended. The best way to prevent these types of accidents is to:
- Implement lockout and tagout procedures
- Wear proper clothing/protective gear
- Proper training
As you can see, there are a few common themes when it comes to preventing construction accidents. The best thing that employers can do is implement more rigorous training and safety standards. In addition to actively learning the safety procedures, construction workers can protect themselves by always wearing reflective protective gear. If you do find yourself involved in a construction accident resulting in injury or even death, it’s always a good idea to consult a personal injury lawyer right away. Working with an experienced law firm can help relieve the stress of medical bills, lost wages, and overall pain and suffering.
Whiteside & Goldberg, Ltd.
Whiteside and Goldberg have over 50 years of experience in Chicago personal injury law. They know how to deal with tough cases in the greater Chicago area and have extensive knowledge of Illinois construction law. In fact, one of their specialties is pursuing construction negligence cases. As a construction worker, you are entitled to receive the best representation possible so that you can recover from your injuries without financial worry.
Whiteside & Goldberg Law Group always offers a free consultation before you make the decision to proceed. You do not have to worry about paying anything upfront to work with an experienced attorney. You never make a payment until they win a settlement for you. As a construction worker, you are more vulnerable to injury than most workers. For expert legal advice, call 312-334-6875 to speak to an attorney. Get the professional legal help that you need.
The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship, nor constitute legal advice. If you wish to discuss any further aspect of the material contained herein, please contact an attorney at Whiteside & Goldberg, Ltd.