In 2015 (the most recent year for which statistics are available), 985 construction workers died of work-related injuries in the United States. These workers accounted for more than 21% of all U.S. workers who died in work-related accidents that year, making the construction industry one of the most dangerous industries in the country.
That same year, there were 3.5 recordable cases of illness or injury for every 100 full-time construction workers and 2 out of every 100 full-time construction workers lost time from work, required work restrictions, or needed a job transfer because of their work-related injuries or illnesses.
Why Is This Happening?
Construction workers face many risks at work. Among these are the top five causes of fatal construction accidents, which are:
- Motor vehicle collisions. Vehicular collisions—on the highway or on the construction site—are a significant risk for construction workers.
- Falls. A fall from a height or a slip and fall can result in injury.
- Being struck by an object. Falling objects, malfunctioning equipment, and busy construction sites can result in struck-by accidents.
- Electrocutions. Both lightning strikes and installation of electric power equipment can create risks for construction workers.
- Being caught in or caught in between equipment, objects, materials, or structures. A collapsed building, being caught in equipment, and other risks can be serious or fatal for construction workers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has standards in place to try to prevent these serious accidents. However, fatalities and injuries can occur even when an employer is in compliance with all applicable safety regulations.
Working in a Risky Business Won’t Prevent Your Recovery
Workers’ compensation is important for workers in all industries, and the construction industry is no exception. Workers’ compensation laws exist to protect workers from paying the costs of a work-related accident. In Iowa, your employer should pay for your medical care after a work-related accident and you may be entitled to weekly benefits if you are unable to work due to your injuries. Likewise, if your loved one has died in a construction accident, then you may be entitled to death benefits.
If you’ve been hurt, then it is up to you to take the first steps toward protecting your recovery. Notify your employer of the accident and injury as soon as possible and call an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer for a free consultation about your rights and how to protect them.