Construction: one of America’s deadliest jobs

The construction industry is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. Workers may face additional hazards due to safety violations.

In Phoenix and other large cities, it is common to see road and building construction in numerous places at any given time. Those who work in the construction industry are aware that it is a dangerous way to make a living. Every day, construction workers risk their lives in making buildings and roadways safer and more comfortable for everyone else.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported 899 fatalities across the country in the construction industry in 2014. This number represented 20.5 percent of all worksite fatalities that year.

What are the leading causes of fatal construction accidents?

Consistently every year, the top factors in fatal construction accidents include falling, being caught between objects, being struck by objects and electrocution. These accidents are known in the construction industry as the "fatal four." OSHA officials and other safety experts state that if the fatal four were eliminated, an average of 435 construction workers throughout the country would be saved every year.

How can standards violations play a part in an accident?

OSHA has put in place numerous federal regulations to uphold health and safety in the workplace. Additionally, employers may have their own standards to adhere to. In a dangerous workplace, it is essential for workers to be properly trained in the jobs they perform, as well as to have access to safety equipment that is properly maintained and in good repair. It also helps when employees are responsible with their jobs and avoid taking shortcuts and horseplay, which could put anyone near them at risk, in addition to themselves.

When standards are ignored or violated, it can result in a serious accident, such as falling from equipment or scaffolding, being electrocuted by cables that are not de-energized or grounded, or being hit or crushed by moving parts or machinery.

It is unknown whether an accident that occurred in Surprise last June was the result of a workplace violation, but the incident highlights the dangers that can occur. KTAR News reported that a support beam on a road construction site fell, causing serious injuries to one worker who fell 40 feet. Another employee suffered minor injuries.

How can an attorney help me in a workers' compensation case?

Workers' compensation insurance exists to cover Phoenix employees and their families after a workplace accident. In many cases, the claims and appeals process can be complex. In others, a negligent employer may have contributed to an avoidable accident. An experienced workers' compensation attorney may be able to help the victims of a jobsite accident determine their eligibility for compensation, as well as assist them through the workers' comp process.

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Jerome, Gibson, Stewart, Stevenson, Engle & Runbeck, P.C., provides experienced representation for workers' compensation cases in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Glendale, Peoria, Avondale, Casa Grande, Flagstaff, Prescott, Tucson and Yuma, and throughout Maricopa County, Pima County, Pinal County and Yavapai County, and all of Arizona.