Construction is one of the deadliest industries in America. Safety violations contribute to many workplace fatalities and injuries.
From driving trucks to working in the fishing and logging industries, there are many jobs in the United States that are considered more dangerous than others. With exponential growth in cities across Texas, construction makes up a large part of the state's workforce. Construction is also considered to be one of America's most dangerous professions. According to Bloomberg, there are 18.76 fatalities per 100,000 construction workers across the country. Numerous trades within the construction industry take places in the top 20 most dangerous jobs.
In 2012, 4,383 American workers lost their lives on the job, states Forbes. Many of these included those who worked in construction, such as builders, roofers and electrical installers. To prevent jobsite injuries, numerous safety standards have been put in place. However, not all job sites or employers enforce these measures, which can result in devastating consequences.
Four accident types contribute to most construction fatalities
Any accident can result in serious injuries, but there are four types in particular that construction professionals deem the most deadly. According to EHS Today, these are known as the "fatal four," and they were responsible for 57 percent of construction workplace fatalities in 2012. That year, Texas ranked number one for the highest rate of "fatal four" construction deaths.
The number one "fatal four" accident is falling, followed by being caught between objects, electrocution and being struck by objects. It is estimated that eliminating these four accident types would save 435 construction workers each year.
Jobsite violations often cause fatal accidents
According to Electrical Construction & Maintenance, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducts 10,000 random inspections on jobsites every year to ensure safety standards are being upheld. It is rare that a construction site has no violations at all during an inspection. The most dangerous types of violations - which frequently contribute to "fatal four" accidents - include the following:
- Scaffolding violations - Scaffolds are required to be built on a stable surface, with their walking surfaces fully planked by boards, leaving no gaps. Violations often result in falls, which may lead to fatalities by a traumatic head injury, a fractured spine or other serious injuries.
- Grounding - It is common for construction workers to face electrocution if the cables or wires they are working on have not been de-energized or grounded. Power tools with worn cords or other faults can also contribute to shocks and electrocutions.
- Trenches and excavations - OSHA has deemed improper excavations to be a high-priority hazard. Trenches need to be properly braced to avoid collapses, which can crush or suffocate workers.
This last point appeared to have been the cause of a tragic accident in Fritch last June. News Channel 10 reported that a 63-year-old worker at the site of a new Allsups building was killed when dirt walls collapsed as he was installing fuel tanks at the site. The man was crushed by the dirt walls and the tanks. OSHA was still investigating to determine if there had been any violations.
The untimely loss of a loved one in a construction accident is devastating and can have lifelong repercussions due to hospital bills and lost wages. If you are suffering after an accident that was due to improper safety procedures, you may wish to contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your options.
The Shelton Law Firm
Texas Building Trades Council, AFL-CIO