Construction workers in Illinois and across the country might be grateful that the increase in building has given them a significant amount of work, but their chosen profession is also rife with dangers. When working high above ground, for example, there is the chance that someone will fall. Furthermore, exposed wires can make workers vulnerable to electrocution. Also, objects can fall from great heights and place workers in danger of being hit and killed.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has taken steps to increase worker safety. But according to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was an increase of five percent in construction worker deaths in 2014. That is in addition to the many who were injured while working construction. One reason that experts have referenced is that there is so much building going on across the country that the sheer numbers make it more likely that there will be accidents. The need for workers who complete the jobs also makes it likely that some companies will skirt the requirements when it comes to training, safety, equipment and tool maintenance in order to get jobs completed as quickly as possible. When companies get jobs done faster, it not only increases profits, but it allows them to work on other projects.
Cities that do not have access to natural resources often use construction as a way to garner profits by using what is available to them: land and demand. The OSHA tries to ensure that workers are safe and companies adhere to the rules, but they are not staffed sufficiently to make sure that this happens in every case. Across the nation, there are only around 60 inspectors in each state. They are responsible for an estimated eight million worksites. With that in mind, it is easy to understand why so many violations are left unnoticed.
Some workers are undocumented or unable to speak English. They are frequently happy to have the job and are unaware of unions, worker protections and safety requirements, so they are not able to report violations to anyone.
When there is a construction accident that results in a worker’s death, the surviving family members of the deceased worker may have the right to win compensation on the worker’s behalf. Accordingly, after a fatal work-related accident that may have been due to construction negligence, family members may want to speak to an attorney to get guidance about their legal options.
Source: truth-out.org, “US Building Boom Fuels Spike in Construction Worker Injury and Death,” Eleanor J. Bader, Accessed on Feb. 2, 2016