During the summer and fall months, it is common for construction workers to be out improving roads and buildings in Illinois, or constructing new structures and roads. The construction industry is much more dangerous than people unfamiliar with the job may realize. Every day, construction workers put their lives at risk for the buildings and roads that others take for granted. Some construction accidents occur as the result of negligence on the part of the employer.

According to the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration, 20.5 percent of the 4,386 workers killed in 2014 were in the construction trade. Construction accidents continue to account for about one in every five deaths on the job in America.

Understanding The Fatal Four

Almost anything can cause a construction mishap, but four accident types in particular are responsible for the most fatalities or devastating injuries. These include the following:

  • Falls, the top cause of all accidents on the worksite
  • Getting caught between objects or machinery
  • Electrocution
  • Being struck by objects

These accident types are known in the construction industry as the "fatal four." Safety experts believe that eliminating the fatal four would save about 435 construction workers in the country each year.

There are federally-mandated safety standards on construction sites across the country to improve worker safety. Unfortunately, many accidents result from standards violations, ranging from not being properly trained to blatant disregard for safety. The top violations currently include failing to protect workers from falls, scaffolding violations, respiratory protection, ladder mishaps, electrical violations and lax machinery safety. Ongoing studies by the Center for Construction Research and Training have named falls the highest source of construction injury since 2003.

Fallen Beam Kills Illinois Worker

A tragic accident that occurred in April in Des Plaines illustrates how serious a possible safety violation can be. According to the Chicago Tribune, a 45-ton beam collapsed at a job site on Interstate 90, killing one worker and injuring three others. OSHA officials claimed the accident could have been prevented. There may have been insufficient support straps or chains to support the beam during its removal.

Workers' compensation insurance exists to provide support for injured victims or their families after an accident on the job. However, in cases where there was negligence or wrongdoing on the part of the employer or others on the jobsite, it may be possible to pursue additional legal action. It may be wise to consult an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney.

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