Recent accidents highlight construction worker risks

People who work on construction job sites face serious dangers every day, making workplace safety a must.

The Midwest has seen its share of fatal construction site accidents recently. Making big headlines was an incident at the Minnesota Vikings Stadium involving two workers. According to the Chicago Tribune, the men were working on the roof of the structure. For reasons yet unknown, one of the workers fell from the roof and died as a result. The other worker remained on the roof but sustained injuries.

A high-end residential condo project in Chicago turned into the site of another construction worker death . ABC7Chicago.com notes that the man was working on a suspended crane when he became crushed and pinned by some equipment. Some of his fellow workers attempted to free him but were not able to get him free soon enough to save his life. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Sad, but not unusual

The accidents described above are certainly tragic for the victims and their family members as well as their colleagues. But, perhaps the most tragic element to these stories is the reality that they are not that unusual. The Occupational Safety Health Administration data on workplace fatalities indicates that in 2013, almost 800 people in the construction industry died in on-the-job accidents.

OSHA also categorizes these fatalities by the causing factors. Because they are so frequently noted in fatal construction site accidents, four causes are commonly referred to as the fatal four. These include slips, trips or falls as one category. Electrocutions, being struck by objects and being crushed or trapped are the other three.

Specific OSHA information from 2013 shows the following:

  • Almost 300 of the total construction worker deaths were attributed to falls, slips or trips.
  • Strikes by objects were noted in 82 of the deaths.
  • Becoming trapped or crushed was a factor in 21 of the year's fatalities.
  • In all, the fatal four contributed to 57 percent-more than half-of all construction site fatalities nationwide.

In the state of Illinois, 27 people on construction site died in 2012 according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. The most frequently noted cause of these deaths was falls. A total of 10 lives were lost in accidents involving falls.

What can be done?

There is a clear reason why OSHA has developed clear safety guidelines for construction job sites. These workplaces are inherently dangerous and potentially deadly. However, these regulations are not sufficient to prevent all accidents, in part because sometimes they are not followed.

When a serious accident happens, victims or family members should always seek help from an attorney right away.