Wheaton / Will County / Joliet Construction Accidents Lawyers
Construction sites are often dangerous by nature. Whether the construction is on a home or a large office development, workers are around large equipment and dangerous tools. There are often several different types of construction occurring at any given time. If proper safety measures are not met, construction accidents can cause severe injury and even death.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012, construction accidents accounted for nearly 16% of all fatal work injuries. In 2012, there were approximately 4,383 fatal construction accidents, the second highest number of fatal accidents among any profession. The most common construction accident injuries include being struck by equipment or vehicles, electrical related injuries, falls and trenching or excavation injuries.
Electrical Related Construction Injuries
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), approximately 350 construction workers are fatally electrocuted each year while on the job. Electrocutions are a major concern when working near electricity. Electrical accidents can be caused by contact with power lines, improper use of extension cords and lack of protection. Contact with high voltage currents can result in cardiac arrest, thermal burns or permanent muscle, tissue, and nerve damage.
Prevention: Overhead power lines often carry tens of thousands of volts, making them extremely dangerous to employees who work in their vicinity. When operating near power lines, workers should always assume they are energized unless told otherwise. Overhead and ground lines should be de-energized before work and non-conductive wood or fiberglass ladders should be used to further avoid electrocution. When using extension cords, 3-wire type factory-assembled extension cords should be used, along with ones designated for extra-hard usage when applicable.
Falls are the leading cause of work-related deaths and the leading cause of injuries in the construction profession. More than 360 workers are killed annually as a result of falls on-site. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in 2012, falls accounted for 36% of all work-related deaths. Falls can be caused by insufficient fall protection, misuse of ladders, and uncovered holes in walls, floors, or roofs.
Prevention: When workers are exposed to a fall distance of at least six feet, it is important to implement guardrail or safety net systems for their protection. Construction sites should be surveyed before work and dangerous holes should be covered. Also, ladders should be inspected for broken parts before use, and they should be positioned on level ground with the side rails extended approximately three feet above the landing.
Vehicle Accidents on Construction Sites
Nearly 10% of all construction accident fatalities are a result of workers being injured by vehicles or equipment while working. Construction workers also can be injured by falling objects.
Prevention: When utilizing mobile construction equipment, operators must ensure the equipment is in safe condition before use. Parking brakes must be set when stepping away from a vehicle, and loose pieces of equipment must be secured to ensure they will not fall. When working near public roads, workers must remain visible by wearing reflective gear and yellow or orange clothing. Also, traffic signs must be used to indicate worker positioning to oncoming traffic.
Trenching & Excavation
The fatality rate for excavation workers is 112% higher than the rate for general construction workers. Cave-ins are the most commonly feared trenching hazard, but other hazards such as asphyxiation due to lack of oxygen, inhalation of toxic fumes, and drowning are also serious dangers. Trenching and excavation accidents can occur due to a worker’s lack of protection, failure to inspect the trenching area, unsafe soil placement, and unsafe entrance/exits to the work area.
Prevention: Excavations are inherently hazardous because they are naturally unstable and prone to cave-ins. Prior to breaking ground, underground lines must be identified, traffic control must be planned, escape plans and emergency protocols must be finalized. Once work has begun tests for low oxygen and hazardous fumes must be performed, especially when working near gasoline, and adequate ventilation must be in place at the trenching site.
At Zayed Law Offices, we are proponents of the approach that medical attention is the primary concern in the aftermath of a catastrophic occurrence. It is critical to report the injury to the employer or manager with specificity. Further, it is a good idea to get contact information for any potential witnesses along with photos of the injuries and the condition that led to the injury. Contacting a skilled and experienced construction accident attorney is a critical component when fighting for your rights in the aftermath of an injury.
In the event of a catastrophic injury at a construction site, the investigation as to at liable parties can be extremely important and time sensitive. The initial investigation as to at fault parties can be aided by a thorough OSHA inquiry. Frequently there is overlapping negligence on behalf of many different parties, and typically our firm’s investigation of the parties involved includes a comprehensive examination about whether parties other than the employer are liable.
Construction Site Owners: Sometimes the property owner and/or the construction site owner deserve scrutiny in the event of a construction accident.
General and sub-contractors: both of these entities have a duty to maintain a safe working environment. The relationship of the injured person to the general and sub-contractors is also of critical importance in terms of determining the type of case at issue. Workers compensation injuries do not require a finding of negligence, but workers compensation is not a complete compensation system. On the other hand, if the worker was an independent contractor, they might have the opportunity to file a civil action seeking a complete remedy from the courts.
Architects and Engineers: In the event that the architects or engineers involved in any particular project have created a dangerous environment. Sometimes architects and engineers violate safety codes, but sometimes their violations must be exposed through the use of experts retained by a personal injury construction accident law firm.
Manufacturers: Defective products put people at risk on the job site. In the event that a product was manufactured improperly or if the product was designed in a negligent manner, the laws of strict liability will apply. Further, companies that were involved in any way throughout the supply chain may very well be liable.
Interaction between OSHA and Construction Accidents
OSHA is sometimes feared as an impediment to productivity at job sites. That being said OSHA’s mandate is to ensure that working environments are safe. In the event of a catastrophic construction injury it is usually a good idea to ask OSHA to inspect the workplace, to inspect policies and procedures in place, to request information about minimum OSHA standards. Workers are free to invoke OSHA without fear of retaliation or reprisal. In the event of a serious construction site injury, our law firm can also help clients file an OSHA complaint in the event of an injury involving a dangerous workplace. OSHA can not only help with a preliminary investigation, but they can actually make a difference in terms of the safety standards at the workplace.
- Crane accidents;
- Hoist accidents;
- Collapsed structures;
- Toxic substances;
- Falls from elevations;
- Slips and falls;
- Defective products;
- Fires and explosions;
- Scaffolding accidents; and
- Wrongful death
At Zayed Law Offices, we are a trial law firm dedicated to helping people who have been injured on construction sites seek a remedy for their injuries. We have experience working on some of the most complex and catastrophic injuries in the State of Illinois. We fight hard to secure compensation for the following types of losses:
- Past and future medical bills;
- Past and future pain and suffering;
- Past and future loss of normal life;
- Past and future lost income;
- Emotional suffering;
- Disfigurement; and
- Wrongful death.
If you have questions about a construction site accident involving you or a family member, please contact our office for a free, no-obligation consultation at 855.726.1616 or use our contact form. .