Construction is one of the country’s most dangerous industries, with many types of accidents causing injuries or death on the job.
Every day across Maryland, thousands of employees risk their safety performing dangerous jobs. These professions, which range from electrical work to logging, roofing and numerous other jobs, can come with hazards even when employees are adhering to all safety standards. Workers' compensation laws are designed to cover those who receive workplace injuries, whether their jobs are low-risk or among the most dangerous industries in the country.
It may come as no surprise that construction comprises many of the most hazardous trades in America. According to Bloomberg, many construction-related jobs, from building construction to roadwork and others, hold positions within the top 20 most dangerous jobs. On average, about 18.76 construction workers per 100,000 are killed on the job every year.
Deadliest accidents on construction sites
There are many ways an employee in construction may be injured or killed. However, four types top the list as the most common fatal workplace accidents. Known as the "Fatal Four," these accidents comprised 57 percent of work-related deaths in construction in 2012, states EHS Today. They include falls (the top cause of construction fatalities at 36 percent), being caught between objects, electrocutions and being struck by objects or machinery. If the Fatal Four were eliminated, it is estimated that about 435 construction workers throughout the United States would be saved each year.
Common safety violations
Construction accidents can occur when safety protocols are in place. However, each day across the country, states Electrical Construction & Maintenance, numerous safety violations increase the risk of Fatal Four accidents as well as other types of mishaps. The top three safety violations that contribute to deadly construction site incidents include the following:
- Scaffolding falls and collapses - equipment that is not constructed on stable surfaces or fully planked on walking areas to avoid falls
- Electrical violations - improper grounding or cables not de-energized, resulting in electrocutions; also, power tools that are faulty or worn out but are still in use
- Trenches - excavations that are not braced or shored or lack escape routes and other precautions to protect workers from cave-ins or toxic fumes
A recent accident at a construction site in Ellicott City illustrated one of the dangers construction workers face. WBAL TV News reported that last August, two men were thrown from the bucket of a lift machine when the equipment tipped onto its side. Both men were hospitalized, but died of their injuries. Authorities were unsure what caused the lift machine to tip.
Regardless of whether safety violations or unavoidable circumstances were at play, workers' compensation is meant to cover the medical expenses, lost wages and other losses of those who were injured in workplace accidents. It may also assist families who lost a loved one due to an accident on the job. If you were affected by a workplace accident, it may help to contact an attorney with experience in workers' compensation law, who will understand the steps for applying for workers' compensation, as well as the appeals process if necessary.