Philadelphia’s Private Construction Industry is the Most Dangerous
Ryan Zavodnick | November 4, 2019 | Construction Accident
Construction is one of the most dangerous industries to work in today. This is true even when appropriate measures are in place to ensure worker safety. However, not all construction workers face the same degree of risk with their job. In fact, studies show that the private sector is far more dangerous than government agencies when it comes to construction work.
If you are injured at a construction site, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injury. This money can help you pay your medical bills and you may receive additional amounts for pain and suffering.
The Statistics on Private Construction Industry Accidents
It might surprise you to learn than Philadelphia has a relatively small number of construction accidents. In fact, the city has the lowest number among the 10 largest cities in the United States. Construction accidents are far more common in cities like New York.
However, there is a big difference between the private and public sectors when it comes to construction industry accidents in Philly. By the numbers, in 2016 and 2017, 89% of construction accidents in Philadelphia were in the private sector. This means that only 11% occurred in the public sector.
Now, most of the fatalities at these sites happened during actual construction, or while transporting or extracting materials. Further, 80% of the fatalities were construction trade workers (skilled) as opposed to laborers (unskilled).
Types of Injuries in the Construction Industry
Certain injuries are more common in the construction industry. In fact, just four types of injury cause over half of construction worker deaths in the private sector. According to a 2017 study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most common type of fatal injury is falls. These injuries account for 39.2% of all deaths. An example would be a worker plummeting from a roof or scaffolding.
The next most common fatal injury is an object striking a worker. This accounts for 8.2% of all construction industry deaths. The third most common injury is electrocution. This accounts for 7.3% of all construction industry deaths. Electrocutions are typically caused by defective or mishandled equipment.
Finally, being caught in or between materials accounted for 5.1% of all construction industry deaths. This would include being killed or compressed by equipment or objects, or being crushed or run over by something like a structure or piece of equipment.
How Employers Can Prevent Construction Injuries
Now, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), many of these fatalities could have been prevented by following their guidelines. First, the most commonly cited construction site issue is fall protection. This correlates to the high number of deaths by falling.
By law, employers must provide appropriate safety measures wherever there is an elevation of six feet or higher. Safety measures include:
- Guard rails
- Floor hole covers, and if necessary
- Safety harnesses, lines, and safety nets.
Additionally, employers must keep construction areas clean and dry to the extent possible. Also, employers must train employees on how to navigate potential worksite hazards.
Potential Claims for Injuries at a Construction Site
Now, you may have a claim for financial compensation if you or a loved one was injured at a construction site. For example, a defective product may have been the cause of your injury. If this is the case, you may be able to sue the manufacturer of that product.
Even if you were not employed at the construction site, you may still have a legal claim. This might be the case if you were walking by the construction site and a falling object hit you. In this situation, you would need to prove that the construction company acted negligently. This means that they failed to take reasonable safety precautions to protect the public.
Successful lawsuits typically lead to damage awards that account for your medical bills, lost wages as a result of the injury, and amounts for pain and suffering. You may recover additional money to cover the loss of your ability to enjoy life.
However, it is important to note that if an employee is injured or killed while performing his or her job, typically the only recourse is through the workers’ compensation program. This process can be complicated. There are exceptions to this rule, so it can be helpful to reach out to an attorney to help guide you through the system.