Construction – The Most Dangerous Job in America

Working at a construction site is one of the most dangerous ways to make a living. On any day in the US, more than 6.5 million workers are at work on 250,000-plus construction sites. In 2007 construction workers on those job sites suffered over 135,000 on the job injuries and job-related illnesses. Nearly 1200 construction workers died from their job-related injuries. This reflects an incident rate of 1.9 injuries her 1000 workers one of the highest rates for any job category. The most frequent cause of injuries was contact with equipment and other objects, a category which includes trucks, cranes, bulldozers and other specialized construction vehicles, as well as power tools, and hand tools.

Back injuries are the most common kind of construction injury. Falls from a roof, from scaffolding, and from ladders are other major causes of injury. Other frequent causes are trench collapse, scaffold collapse, and failure of protective equipment, including failure to use required protective equipment.

The most dangerous trades were ironworking and electrical power installation. Ironworkers suffered a death rate of 68.9 deaths per 100, 000 workers, and installers’ was 57.3 per 100,000. Most deaths of electrical workers resulted from electrocution. General unskilled laborers had a lower death rate per 100, 000, but the total number of unskilled laborers who died was the highest of any workers’ group.

Many injuries and deaths on construction sites result from the failure of contractors or subcontractors to insure the safety of the work-site. Work-site safety includes maintaining all equipment in a safe, well-functioning condition, storing equipment and materials appropriately, and using equipment and machinery in the recommended manner. Hazard communication, which includes educating workers about all hazardous chemicals, and providing them with information about spill cleanup procedures, is another important element.

Work-site safety also requires that the site itself be adequately lit, and that appropriate safety measures such as secure scaffolding, guard rails, and elevator guards are in place. Stairways must be well lit and free of debris and materials, and slippery conditions caused by water or spills must be cleaned up promptly. Workers must be required to use appropriate safety equipment, such as eye protection, hard hats, and boots with steel toes and metatarsal guards, gloves, hazmat suits when needed.

Weather can create additional hazards. Workers should not be permitted to work on exterior scaffolding when snow, ice, or other materials have the footing slick.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury on a construction site, and you believe that unsafe working conditions caused or contributed to the injury, you should consult as soon as possible with an experienced construction injury lawyer, who can determine whether you have a claim against the owner or a contractor.

You should act as promptly as possible, because evidence can be lost or destroyed, and witnesses’ memories can fade. An experienced construction injury lawyer can mobilize the necessary investigations of the work-site, and interview essential witnesses even while you are still recovering from your injuries.

Most construction injury claims are undertaken on a contingent fee basis. This means that the attorney does not require payment up front from the victim, and agrees to be paid only if the claim is settled successfully.