Construction Field Proves Risky Business for Workers

A staggering fact was recently revealed when a study was presented at the American Public Health Association's Annual Meeting: all construction workers will suffer at least one work-related injury during their lifetimes. Further, the study revealed construction workers have a greater risk of premature death.

The study conducted by the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) reviewed years of statistical data from numerous national sources. The study's findings definitely showed that a construction worker, over a 45-year career span, has a three out of four chance of suffering a disabling injury and a one in 200 chance of being killed on the job. For Hispanic workers, the chances of premature death increase by 20 percent.

In addition to disabling or fatal injuries, construction site accidents can lead to respiratory problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or even mesothelioma for those exposed to asbestos. The causes of workplace accidents vary but can include:

  • Toppling heavy equipment
  • Collapsing walls, ditches and structures
  • Malfunctioning safety harnesses and gear
  • Declining air quality and quantity/asphyxiation
  • Falling objects
  • Tripping hazards
  • Electrocution

From burns to blindness to brain trauma, construction worksite accidents are often life changing for the victims and their families. "While great strides have been made in reducing construction injuries and illnesses, the numbers are still stubbornly high," said Pete Stafford, executive director of CPWR. "Workers and their families suffer the consequences of disabling injuries, and this research shows it's far too common."

To prevent fatal and disabling tragedies from occurring at construction sites, the U.S. Occupations Safety and Health Administration, also known as OSHA, has developed and implemented rules to govern worksites and worker safety. When accidents do occur, OSHA conducts investigations. If violations are found, the general contractors at the worksites may face severe fines and penalties.

Following serious construction accidents, injured individuals and families of those killed may have legal rights to bring civil lawsuits against the people, companies and manufacturers deemed responsible. To know if sufficient grounds for compensation are present, workers and families may choose to consult with a personal injury and wrongful death attorney experienced in handling workplace accident claims.