Some residents of Richmond, Virginia found themselves without power last Wednesday, though likely didn’t understand why. The answer is unfortunately tragic, and could have been more so. A construction worker at a site in downtown Richmond came into contact with live power lines while operating a scissor lift. Thanks to the quick thinking of a fellow laborer on the site, the electrocuted construction worker was pulled clear of the machinery and rushed to a nearby hospital. But the depressing reality is that this kind of case is common in the construction field. About 150,000 injuries occur per year at construction sites and nearly 1000 of these incidents result in fatalities according to a 2017 report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Malloy Law would like to offer our expertise to all construction workers in the Beltway region in this construction accident guide.
More than 7 million people work in the construction industry in the United States. Construction is also the most dangerous profession in the US based on workplace fatalities. Given the explosive pace of development in the DMV area, a thriving economy of construction and contracting firms is necessary to sustain it. But this highly competitive sector can often prioritize the profits of the company over the health of its workers. The next contract (or the failure to secure it) can be a life or death matter for a construction firm. But the measures taken to secure the next contract can be a life or death matter for their employees. Tight time-tables, under-supervised sites, and long shifts for workers under hazardous conditions can all lead to serious injuries.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), construction fatalities can generally be grouped into four main categories.
The risk factors for each of these hazards are obviously variable from project to project. Skyscrapers dozens of stories high will present more a danger from falls. Excavations in the vicinity of buried cables will pose an electrocution risk. Demolition projects involving heavy machinery will present more dangers from being struck by objects or caught in between machinery. But there are general steps that can be taken to limit danger, regardless of the project.
As a general rule in life, preparedness and communication can keep minor incidents from snowballing into serious injury and life-altering tragedy. Construction companies should ensure that their employees are professionally trained and certified to operate any and all machinery called for by their jobs. Job sites should also be assessed by risk management and safety professionals to alert project managers to hazard areas. Keeping job sites clean and well-lit will also minimize the risk of slip and fall accidents. Additionally, proper maintenance of all construction equipment, from large heavy machinery to small hand tools, can minimize the risk of injury due to malfunctioning equipment. Finally, the constantly changing circumstances of heavy construction mean even the most diligent and well-meaning worker can find themselves uniformed of potential dangers. Regular crew meetings can make sure everyone stays on the same page about the hazards of their evolving environment.
Malloy Law wishes the injured worker a speedy and complete recovery without significant disruption to his working life. But as the statistics clearly demonstrate; his predicament is all too common. Injuries on construction sites are often serious, requiring long, painful periods of rehabilitation or lifelong changes to the injured worker’s standard of living. It’s completely understandable to feel overwhelmed when facing these possibilities in the aftermath of a construction accident. Medical bills, lost wages, worker’s compensation concerns, and emotional distress can bury hardworking, innocent people.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, contact Malloy Law today for a free consultation. Our experienced and diverse legal team will assess your case free of charge and pursue maximum damages on your behalf. Our firm stresses individual attention to all our clients and a policy of empathy for the injured. We’ll work to win the compensation you’re entitled to while you’re free to focus on your injuries. Don’t wait. Contact Malloy Law today to get started.