Safety violations contribute to construction site accidents

The construction industry is one of the most dangerous in the country. Safety violations may contribute to many workplace accidents.

Most people take Chicago's roadways and buildings for granted, without appreciating the amount of work and risk that go into building them. The construction industry, in fact, is known across the country as one of the most dangerous types of work, despite modernized safety equipment and regulations. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction industry ranked second in Illinois for workplace fatalities in 2014. Last year, 28 construction workers were killed on the job. Slips, trips and falls were the most dangerous accident type, with 12 workers losing their lives due to falling or slipping.

The three most common safety violations

Many workplace accidents are difficult to avoid, but others occur as a result of safety violations. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has put in place numerous regulations and safety standards to improve employee safety in nearly every industry. According to Electrical Construction & Maintenance, OSHA officials randomly visit 10,000 job sites annually to conduct safety inspections, and rarely encounter a construction site that has no health or safety violations. There are many ways a construction worker can suffer a workplace injury. However, three types of workplace violations contribute to a large number of construction accidents, which include the following:

• Scaffolding violations - Many construction workers are injured falling from scaffolding equipment, injured by equipment dropped from the structures or from unstable scaffolding tipping over. Regulations require walking surfaces on scaffolds be fully planked and that they are constructed and secured on stable surfaces.

• Electrical grounding - Cables or wires should be de-energized or grounded before workers perform work on or around them. Often, workers are electrocuted by working on or cutting cables that still have electrical current running through them.

• Trenching and excavations - Trenches and pits at construction sites carry a risk of collapsing or caving in. Deep excavations may lack sufficient oxygen. Excavations should be properly shored to prevent cave-ins and include escape routes. Workers in deeper trenches should use safety equipment to ensure they have enough air to breathe.

Employers or co-workers often fail to observe these safety measures, which in turn contribute to numerous tragedies.

Chicago construction worker killed by pressurized equipment

A construction site accident last October highlighted one of the dangers construction workers face. Fox 32 Chicago reported that a man working on plumbing at the site was using pressurized air to test equipment, when a part of the equipment under pressure exploded. He was hit in the face and killed instantly. It was unknown whether the accident was unavoidable or the result of a safety violation.

Construction workers who are injured as a result of employer or co-worker negligence may be able to seek compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney should be able discuss their case and how to proceed.