Everywhere we live, work or play, we’re beholden to the construction workers who put in the long hours and elbow grease to lay a foundation and build a safe, strong building for us to use. Residents in Chicago, Illinois, know that this city was built on that kind of blue-collar work ethic.
Unfortunately, a construction site also can be one of the most dangerous places to work. That’s not surprising, given all the heavy equipment and power tools involved in the process. The danger of serious injury or death, however, is much greater when tools used in construction have design defects or fail while in use.
Danger on the Worksite
Serious injuries at construction sites happen often, and deaths occur more often than one might expect. In 2011, 721 U.S. workers died from onsite work injuries in the private construction sector, according to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries program, or CFOI, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That number had declined every year for the previous five years, dropping 7 percent from 2010’s total of 774, and was down almost 42 percent since 2006. According to the CFOI, the recession could explain much of the decline – less construction across the United States occurred. Despite the lower fatal injury total, however, private construction was second only to transportation and warehousing for the most fatal work injuries in American industries in 2011.
Construction Site Deaths Regularly in the News
Check the news practically any week and you’ll find a story about someone being seriously injured or killed at a construction site. There have been several over the past month. On Dec. 18, one man was killed and two others seriously injured when they fell after scaffolding gave way underneath them at a school construction site in Alabama, according to waff.com. A man died on Dec. 13 in California after falling off a roof at a construction site, according to MercuryNews.com. On Nov. 28, a construction worker near the Las Vegas Motor Speedway died when several guardrails fell on him, according to Fox5Vegas.com.
It can take time for investigations to determine the causes of these fatal accidents and the many serious worksite accidents that occur every day. Sometimes, design defects or product failure related to heavy construction equipment can play a role in these incidents, even if the relationship isn’t immediately clear. For example, a defective tool used to put up scaffolding or a guardrail could cause it to lack stability and fail.
Every Accident Victim Deserves a Full Investigation and Proper Representation
Anyone who has been injured on a construction site should consult with an attorney to understand his or her full rights under the law. Often, only a thorough investigation can determine the true cause of an accident, and that sometimes can stem from inappropriate product failure or construction tool defects.