Accidents In and Around Construction Sites

Work-related accident is one of the top causes of severe and disabling injuries in the United States and, according to the US Department of Labor, the most common places where these accidents occur are in and around construction sites.

The number of construction site accidents was most alarming during the turn of the 20th century and one of the major concerns connected with every injury was the financial suffering that those who get injured get subjected to. Missing days of work for the injured meant lost wages, yet, despite the lack of earning capability, costly medical treatment had to be undergone and medication, purchased, to hasten recovery and return to work.

If only to merit the compensation that injured workers legally deserved, they had to sue their employers, which often destroyed employer-employee relationship. Thus, the passing into law (in 1908) of the Workers’ Compensation Insurance benefit played a very important role in the wellbeing of workers. This benefit was intended to provide sure and fast financial assistance to injured workers, covering lost wages, cost of medical treatment, rehabilitation and even death. This insurance benefit was also intended to aid workers who developed occupation diseases, due to exposure to hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

In 1970, another law, which was aimed at ensuring safety and health in the work environment, was passed – the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) of 1970, which gave birth to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA.

Some of the safety standards mandated by OSHA on all construction industries, included protections against falls, ground fault-circuit interrupters (GFCIs), confined-space standard, safe stairways and ladders, proper illumination of working area and passage ways, personal protective equipment (PPE), clearly visible and readable accident-prevention signs and tags, eye wash and body-flushing areas located not more than 25 feet from battery-changing places, and fire extinguishers with a 2A-rating every 3000 square feet.

Between 2008 and 2012, a downtrend in construction site injuries was recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor. Though there is now the Workers’ Compensation Insurance program that provides compensation to injured workers, filing of claims will have to be done correctly and within the specified time limit (this is the statute of limitation).

According to the law firm Mazin & Associates, PC, “Construction sites are some of the most dangerous places for anyone to work. They have hazardous areas and tools that can easily injure an unaware worker. When these injuries occur, they often cause severe injuries and even death. Unfortunately, many construction accidents are inflicted upon innocent workers whose employers failed to provide the adequate safety precautions to ensure a safe workplace.

There are endless ways for someone to sustain injuries on a construction site. While some accidents are minor, they more often than not involve serious injuries. Construction companies frequently attempt to cut costs by offering subpar safety guidelines and minimal safety training for their employees. These construction workers are then placed in dangerous areas with heavy equipment to work for hours on end. Many of these construction companies even blame their workers for their negligence or their inappropriate use of tools when an injury occurs in an attempt not to pay compensation.

Workers should understand that, in the event of injurious accidents, they can file a claim with their state’s Worker’s Compensation Insurance office. Worker’s Compensation is a state-mandated insurance program which provides financial benefits to workers who sustain job-related injuries or who develop an illness due to poor working conditions. This program is designed to cover cost of medical treatment, lost wages, rehabilitation, disability and death.

Many times, however, despite the obvious injury or illness, workers’ claims are disapproved, if not by the injured workers’ employers, then by the insurance provider. While insurance firms would, as much as possible, try to avoid making compensation payments (the lesser the claims, the higher profit these firms will have), many employers behave just the same way since more claims means higher premiums that they will have to pay. Yet, despite trying to avoid so much the filing of claims by injured workers, these employers continue to fail in their duty of ensuring for their workers a safe and healthy environment.

If injured, it may be in the best interest of workers to seek legal assistance from an experienced personal injury lawyer or construction accident lawyer, who may be able to help them file for Worker’s Compensation benefits, as well as asses if they can file a tort lawsuit against a third party whose actions or failure to act responsibly may have contributed to the accident.

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