Most days, your work is hard, but you don't complain because the money helps you support your family. However, there are some days that are harder than others, and you may go home with an aching back or bandages on your hands. Unfortunately, if you work in the construction industry, these are not the most serious risks you face on the job.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are certain types of accidents that result in deaths on construction sites more often than any other accidents. These "fatal four" are often the result of safety violations but can also occur from one moment of inattention.
Avoiding the fatal four
The most common cause of death on construction sites is falling. Over 39% of fatal workplace accidents in the construction industry involve falling, often from heights. Falls are almost always preventable with the right preparation, training and protective equipment. You may see co-workers who fail to use their fall protection equipment, and perhaps you have skipped that critical step in order to hurry a job along. Perhaps your employer does not provide adequate gear or training for how to use it effectively.
Aside from falls, the remaining three in the fatal four include the following:
- Being struck by an object, which may include objects propelled through the air, falling from above, swinging from a crane or rolling, such as a vehicle
- Electrocution, which causes the deaths of more than 70 workers a year
- Being caught between objects, which includes a worker pinned or crushed between moving parts of a machine, under a trench cave-in or against the wall by a construction vehicle
Avoiding these four types of accidents is a matter of life and death. A fatal injury can occur so quickly there may be little time for medical intervention.
A safety net for injured workers
Workers' compensation insurance covers the medical bills, lost wages and other needs of those employees injured on the job. It also provides special compensation to those whose injuries leave them disabled and to families whose loved ones die in workplace accidents.
Obtaining benefits from workers' compensation can be as complicated as dealing with any insurance company, and you or your family may face the struggle of a denied claim at the worst possible time. This is why many California workers and survivors reach out to an attorney to guide them through the claims and appeals processes.