Construction workers are a common sight in Illinois, especially during the summer when construction workers and orange barrels seem to be ever-present. However, whether they are erecting a building, fixing a street or performing any other type of task involving heights, electricity and heavy machinery, it goes without saying that construction work can be dangerous work — sometimes even leading to work-related deaths.
The Occupational Health and Safety and Health Administration has coined the term “fatal four,” with regards to the four most common types of fatal construction accidents. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the nearly 4,700 worker deaths in the private sector in 2016, just over 21 percent took place in the construction industry. And, the fatal four played a role in almost 64 percent of these deaths. So, what are the construction industry’s fatal four?
The first and foremost of the fatal four is falls. Of the 991 construction worker deaths in 2016, over 38 percent were due to falls. The second of the fatal four is being struck by an object. Of all construction worker deaths in 2016, approximately 9.5 percent were caused by being struck by an object. The third of the fatal four is electrocutions. Of all construction worker deaths in 2016, 8.3 percent were caused by being electrocuted. The final of the fatal four is being caught-in/between objects. This accounted for 7.3 percent of construction worker deaths in 2016.
It is estimated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that if the fatal four were eliminated it would save over 630 lives annually in the United States. However, the fact of the matter is that there will always be instances in which a construction worker is killed on-the-job due to the negligent actions of his or her employer. When employers fail to practice safety protocol, fail to provide safety equipment or break safety regulations, it is the workers whose lives are on the line.
When a worker dies due to construction negligence, his or her loved ones may want to determine if they are able to file a lawsuit. While no amount of money can truly replace a loved one, compensation awarded through a legal claim can go a long way to helping families cope financially following a loved one’s death.