The “Fatal Four” Hazards at Construction Sites
Construction sites are inherently dangerous places. Site workers, deliverymen, business visitors and even passersby are at constant risk of injuries from a wide range of causes. Some accidents are preventable by the enforcement of reasonable safety measures. Others result from causes that are outside the control of anyone. Determining the cause or causes is essential to recovering the full compensation owed to an injured worker or to the family of a fatal accident victim.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), which maintains safety standards for construction sites and investigates site accidents, has cataloged the four most common causes of deaths. These are OSHA’s “Fatal Four” construction site hazards:
- Falling — The most prevalent fatal construction accidents are falls from heights. Structural failures, platform or scaffolding collapses and inadequate or defective safety devices can all be contributing causes, as can wind and weather conditions. OSHA regulations require site owners to adhere to safety measures that are based on the height at which work is being done or on the depth of an excavation below.
- Being struck by objects — With multiple workers on site and with equipment and tools in constant use, objects are often in motion, whether deliberately or by accident. A worker may be hit by a falling or flying projectile or by a machine component. OSHA regulations mandate providing personal protective equipment and proper training for all site personnel to lower the risk of accidents.
- Electrocution — Especially in major cities, there is a risk of hitting an underground power feed when excavating a site. Overhead power lines also present a danger, as they or their supporting poles can be struck by construction equipment. Electrocution can also result from exposed wires, wet circuitry and use of electrical equipment without proper grounding, insulation and/or circuit breakers.
- Getting caught in or between — Fatal injuries can occur when workers are caught in machines, devices or tools, pinned between moving or rotating equipment or trapped in collapsing structures like trenches, tunnels or excavations.
The owner or manager of the construction site is legally obligated to take precautions to protect the health and safety of workers and others on the site. Often, multiple employers and contractors are present at a construction site, and any or all of them may be liable for accidents caused by dangerous conditions.
Accident victims or their families can seek workers’ compensation benefits from the victims’ employers and pursue legal action against other potentially responsible parties. Workers’ compensation provides reimbursement for medical expenses and lost income. A third-party claim can also seek damages for pain and suffering and for lost future income.
Contact our Milwaukee legal team today
If you have been injured or have lost a loved one due to hazardous construction site conditions, you need an experienced personal injury attorney to get you the compensation you deserve. At Sperling Law Offices LLC in Milwaukee, we are skilled in pursuing claims arising from Wisconsin construction accidents. Call us at 414-273-7777 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation.