Workers' Compensation: Injuries and the Construction Industry's 'Fatal Four'
As the nation’s economy continues to recover, certain industries have experienced growth in new jobs. Among the industries experiencing growth across the country are mostly in construction trades. The availability of jobs in the construction field has risen steadily over the past year, and as new development continues and repairs to infrastructure receive more funding, the demand for workers in the construction field is expected to continue to increase. While there are a number of benefits to working in the field of construction, there are also some drawbacks. On the job injuries among construction workers are among the highest in any field, and construction worker fatalities account for an alarming number of all job-related deaths.
Construction-Related On-The-Job Fatalities
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), over 4,500 workers were killed on the job in 2013. This translates into 88 worker deaths a week. Roughly one in five of these work-related deaths were in the construction industry. A construction site is an inherently dangerous place to be, and if the proper precautions aren’t taken, serious life threatening injuries can result. The leading causes of construction-related on-the-job injuries and deaths are known as the ‘fatal four’, and include:
- Falls: The number one cause of death in the construction injury is falls. Falls can occur due to faulty scaffolding, unsteady ladders, improper equipment, and worker errors, and even a fall from a short height can lead to serious, life threatening injuries and even death
- Being struck by an object: Flying or falling debris on construction sites poses a high risk for being struck by this debris.
- Electrocutions: Working on electrical wiring, without the proper safety precautions in place can put workers at risk of being electrocuted.
- Being caught in between objects: Heavy equipment and machinery is everywhere on job sites. Visibility can be diminished when working around these machines, and often workers wear earplugs to protect themselves from the noise, leaving workers vulnerable to being trapped or caught in between machinery or objects on construction sites
In addition to the above, other common causes of worker fatalities and serious injuries include fires and explosions, exposure to toxic chemicals and substances, and overexertion.
Workers’ Compensation For On-the-Job Injuries and Fatalities
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance to protect workers in the event of on-the-job injuries, or job-related deaths. In South Carolina, the State Workers’ Compensation Act provides benefits for workers in the form of reimbursement for medical expenses, lost wages, and disability. In the event of a job-related fatality, these benefits may be available to the workers family and dependents. Workers or their families should report any on-the-job injury or fatality to the employer immediately, and claims for compensation must be made within two years after an accident.
Contact Our Experienced South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have been injured on the job or have a loved one who died as the result of a job-related accident, contact Anastopoulo Law Firm today. Our workers’ compensation attorneys will review your case for free, and help you get compensation for your injuries or loss. We have offices in Charleston and throughout South Carolina, and our attorneys have the experience and training you need at a time like this. Don’t hesitate; call us today for a free review of your case.