Here in Oklahoma, we depend on construction workers. We depend on them to build our homes, our shopping centers, office buildings, and medical centers. It’s a physically demanding job and, as a result, the number of on-the-job accidents tends to be higher than other industries. Recent OSHA data reveals that 21.4% of all on-the-job fatalities in 2016 were in construction—that’s one in every five worker deaths. Construction sites are full of hazards for even the most seasoned workers, from heavy machinery to power tools to high elevations.
Construction sites are required by law to keep their sites safe and follow the rules and guidelines set by OSHA to protect their workers. However, even with these regulations in place, accidents still happen, many due to negligence or recklessness. And some construction accidents tend to happen more often.
The “Fatal Four”
OSHA found that there are four types of accidents responsible for more than half of all construction worker fatalities.
- Falls. Falls are a leading cause of death for construction workers. Many sites require workers to work at dangerous heights. Things like open holes, unsteady ladders, unstable scaffolding, or weak flooring can cause a fatal fall. When someone works above a height of six feet, they’re required to have a fall arrest system. The employer is responsible for providing a safe working environment. They should inspect all scaffolding and other equipment, provide training on how to use it, and follow all other appropriate safety regulations for working at heights.
- Electrocution. Another potential hazard on the construction site is electrocution. Exposed wires, chemicals, and live electricity are all risks to employees, even those who don’t work with electricity. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure electrical lines are safe and provide grounding. They should also provide the appropriate training and ensure all equipment is properly maintained and safe.
- Struck by Object. Dropped objects, debris, or projectiles from explosions can cause damage to the head that might not always be stopped by a hard hat. An employer is responsible to ensure that all tools and equipment are up to code and nothing is loose. They also must provide proper training on how to use equipment, as well as how to work safely in a construction environment.
- Caught in Between. The last of the Fatal Four, this type of injury can occur when a worker is trapped between pieces of equipment or other immovable objects, or crushed by debris. Employers can safeguard workers from these risks by ensuring all equipment is properly maintained, and that workers are properly trained in safety procedures for all machinery.
Although injuries may be covered by workers’ compensation, every construction site is unique and there can be many issues at play, including defective products or negligence.
At Cunningham & Mears, our Oklahoma City construction site accident attorneys can help you obtain the compensation you deserve if you were injured on the job. We protect the workers of Oklahoma. For a free consultation at our offices, call 405-212-9234 or fill out our contact form today.