With more construction activity comes heightened economic growth, more jobs and more prosperity for everyone, right? This is certainly true, but there is also a dark side to the building boom our nation is experiencing: more construction-related injuries and deaths.
Some of the most common ways that construction workers are injured include falling off roofs, falling off ladders and in scaffolding collapses, but it doesn’t stop there. Workers also suffer injury and death after coming in contact with live electric wires, breathing toxic chemicals and getting overcome by dust. Falling objects, machinery malfunctions and safety equipment failures also contribute to accidents. Indeed, a construction site is fraught with dangers that could strike at any moment.
There are an estimated 7.45 million construction workers in the United States right now. Arguably, they face deadly situations when they report to work each day. This is why workplace safety is so vital. Workers need to have the safest conditions possible in order to prevent injuries from happening. That means good safety training, safety equipment that is in good repair, well-maintained machinery and work environments free of preventable dangers.
Inspections are also vital to ensuring that safety regulations are being followed by construction industry employers. However, it is not possible to inspect every single worksite. Indeed, in New York State alone, it would take 107 years for the state’s 113 Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors to review safety conditions at every workplace.
Furthermore, even though OSHA is doing the best it can, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed an increase of 5 percent in fatal construction site injuries in 2014. On top of that, each year sees millions of workers’ compensation claims relating to sprains, broken bones, limb and digit loss, paralysis and more.
The bottom line is this: Construction-related injuries and deaths are common and they are only becoming more so with the current construction boom. This means that workers’ compensation benefits are playing an even more important role in helping workers get the medical care they need, while supporting them financially when they are too injured to work. If you have suffered a construction-related injury, you too may be able to receive financial help through the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system.
Source: Truthout, “US Building Boom Fuels Spike in Construction Worker Injury and Death,” Eleanor J. Bader, Jan. 30, 2016