The construction industry is known to be one of the most dangerous, with a higher than average risk of on-the-job accidents when compared to many other industries. St. Clair County construction workers are aware of this every day. Due to the use of heavy equipment and heights that are often involved at a construction site, a construction site accident can result in serious or even deadly consequences all too easily.

State and federal laws are in place to keep employees safe while on the job but, sadly, do not prevent all workplace accidents. People working in the construction industry should remain ever aware of safe practices as well as their rights in the event that they are involved in an accident.

The most common causes of construction site accidents

The construction industry has what it refers to as the fatal four. These are the four most common causes of workplace accidents that result in the death of a construction worker, with falls ranking as the most common, according to OSHA.

In close range for the second and third positions on the list are electrocutions and being struck by objects. The fourth most prevalent injury type involves workers being trapped in or below something such as some machinery or other object.

Two recent news stories reported on such accidents including a death by electrocution of a worker in St. Clair County earlier this year. Another recent accident occurred in Chicago where a man was killed after being pinned below some heavy equipment.

OHSA notes that more than 17.6 percent of all 2011 U.S. fatalities in a private industry were within the construction sector, a large percentage of which were due to the fatal four.

How Illinois stacks up

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics gives a good view of the impact that workplace accidents on construction sites have statewide. For the year 2011, the following is of note:

  • A total of 156,100 on the job injuries or illnesses were reported.
  • 2.56 percent of those were in the construction sector.
  • Half of all personal injury construction accidents resulted in employees needing time away from work, job restructuring or a job transfer.
  • A total of 145 people died from an on-the-job accident.
  • 11 percent of those who died were in the construction sector.

Of the Illinois construction fatalities in 2011, nearly half were caused by a fall, trip or slip, confirming the reality of the fatal four.

Options for workers

Certainly our nation's system of workers' compensation insurance is one avenue via which injured employees can receive compensation after a workplace accident. However, those benefits are not always sufficient to fully cover the costs incurred by an employee. Additionally, workers' compensation does not provide any additional compensation such as punitive damages if negligence was at play, especially in the case of a workplace death, when family members may be involved.

In such cases, people can look to claims for disability or to private lawsuits to give them their best chance for proper recourse and compensation after a serious personal injury. When this is needed , working with an experienced attorney is always recommended.