Construction is one of America’s most dangerous industries. Certain mishaps make up the most common fatal accident types on the job.
It is no secret that the construction industry is one of the most dangerous jobs in America. Each day, roofers, electricians, structural engineers, highway workers and others in construction risk their lives to make lives better for people in Minnesota and elsewhere. Some construction accidents occur due to faulty machinery or other unforeseen factors, but other mishaps are a result of improper training or safety measures. Most accidents on the job are entirely preventable.
The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration states that hundreds of people are killed in construction accidents each year, making up about 20 percent of the deaths in all industries. In 2014, 899 construction workers across the country lost their lives.
“Fatal four” accidents
Four specific accident types in particular, known in the industry as the “fatal four,” contribute to the majority of fatal accidents on the worksite. These include the following:
- Falls – The top cause of fatal construction accidents
- Being caught between objects – such as getting stuck in heavy machinery or pinned between a vehicle and a solid surface
- Electrocutions – Live cables, improperly grounded wires or damaged power tools
- Getting struck by objects – hit by falling equipment, construction vehicles or moving machinery parts
Safety experts in the industry estimate that eliminating the fatal four would prevent 435 deaths among construction workers in the country every year.
Numerous violations are common in construction and frequently contribute to serious injuries or fatalities. For example, workers may lack proper equipment or training for a particular task, such as knowing how to work around electricity or having gear to protect against falls. Corners may be cut when constructing or working on scaffolding or machinery. Workers may also fail to take precautionary measures when working in trenches.
A tragic accident in 2016 highlighted this latter point. According to TwinCities.com, a construction worker on a farm site in Blue Earth County became trapped when a trench for underground piping he was working in collapsed. Due to the unstable earth, it took the rescue crew hours to reach the man, who was asphyxiated.
Sometimes accidents occur despite everyone’s best efforts. However, at other times an accident was the result of an employer cutting corners, a co-worker failing to exercise caution or improper training and accident prevention measures being implemented. In cases where the negligence of an employer or co-worker contributed to a preventable accident, it may be necessary to speak with an experienced Woodbury personal injury attorney to seek compensation.