One of the most common causes of accidents that lead to a high rate of injuries and death is work-related; and among all job types recorded in the US Department of Labor, accidents in and around construction sites top the list.
The early part of the 20th century showed the most alarming number in construction-related accidents, where workers were the primary victims. Though definitely a very regrettable issue, something good came out of it, at least, such as the implementation of the Workers’ Compensation Law, which was passed in 1902 in Maryland. It was between 1911 and 1920, though, when majority of the states started to adopt the law (North Carolina, Florida, South Carolina, Arkansas and Mississippi were the last five states to adopt it – between 1929 and 1948). The Workers’ Compensation Law mandated majority of employers in the US to provide workers insurance benefits (which included wage replacement and medical benefits) that will ensure fast financial assistance in the event of injury or death.
Another law that was passed, to significantly reduce the occurrence of construction accidents, was the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which actually led to the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA was tasked to “assure safe and healthful working conditions” in all working environments for the good of all employees.
By formulating safety construction site standards and making sure that employers and workers strictly observe them, OSHA has helped greatly in decreasing the number of construction site accidents. Though hundreds of fatal accidents still occurred, a significant downtrend, from 1992 – 2012, is very evident. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor, the number of fatalities in construction site accidents for the last five years, from 2008 – 2012, are 1,016, 879, 802, 781 and 817, respectively.
The top four causes of accidents, which OSHA calls the “Fatal Four,” are falls, electrocution, struck by object and caught-in/between. Other causes of accidents in construction sites (which may injure worker of private individuals, by the way) include insufficient scaffolding, falling objects, lack of edge protection, especially in roof work and improper use of ladders and/or hoists.
Seeking legal advice is highly important in the event of construction site accidents. A lawyer can help you with the procedures that include assessment of the extent of your injury, correctly filling out of claims forms and timely filing of your claims. This is due to the fact that many claimants are denied of their benefits due to lack of or wrong information written in forms. To many others whose claims have been approved, the amount of compensation given to them is far smaller than what they ought to receive. With a knowledgeable legal counsel assisting you, you will never fall into these added inconveniences.