Risk of serious injury high at construction sites

Any industry poses its own inherent set of risks to employees in Illinois. Some, however, offer greater opportunity for injury or even wrongful death than others. The mining, oil and gas and transportation industries are among these, along with the construction industry.

Cook County residents that work in construction, whether residential or commercial, are well aware of the dangers that they face on a daily basis. Heavy equipment, great heights, many moving objects and more all contribute to the risks involved in a construction site accident.

The federal and state governments have many laws in place that are designed to create and maintain safe working conditions but, despite these laws, accidents can and do occur.

The fatal four for construction workers

Among the leading causes of death to construction workers, the industry as a whole identifies what it terms the fatal four. Those are the four most common causes of such accidents and include falls as the number one cause.

In the list, falls are followed closely by electrocutions and then a worker being struck by some type of object. Situations where employees trapped below or in anything like a machine take the number four position in this grouping.

Data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 2011 indicates that 17.6 percent of private industry fatalities resulted in the construction industry. Of those, a large number were attributed to the known fatal four.

The problem in Illinois

In 2013, Illinois saw many news reports of such tragedies including a construction worker in Chicago killed when he became pinned underneath a piece of very heavy equipment. A lawsuit was filed after the electrocution death of an employee in St. Clair County.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics 2011 records give more credence to the seriousness of the problem for construction worker employees in Illinois:

  • More than 2.5 percent of all on-the-job illnesses or injuries occurred in the construction industry.
  • Construction employees missed work or required a job transfer or some form of restructuring of responsibilities in half of all job site accident cases.
  • A total of 145 deaths occurred from workplace accidents.
  • Of the 145 statewide deaths, 11 percent were due to construction accidents.

Almost half of Illinois' 2011 construction site deaths can be attributed to some form of a fall, slip or trip.

What to do in the wake of an accident

Some construction site accident victims are able to receive workers' compensation payments. However, this often is not sufficient to fully address the loss that may have occurred. It is always important and helpful to discuss your case with an attorney who has worked with construction site injuries or deaths before to make sure that you are properly protected.