Construction accidents in IL: Are workers safe?

Construction work in Illinois is dangerous, but regulations are supposed to decrease these risks.

Construction work is rife with danger. Workers that choose this profession likely enjoy watching the progress of a project they work on from beginning to completion, but the risks inherent with this type of work are many. In fact, construction work is so dangerous that those who work in this field often find that their job is at the top of many "most dangerous jobs" lists.

These dangers can include the risks that come from working at a high height. A construction worker in Illinois recently fell ten feet from a concrete slab while working on an aqueduct. The fall led to serious injuries and the worker was airlifted to a hospital for treatment. Another recent accident in the area involved a worker that was struck by objects falling from a roof of the building that was part of the job site. The worker was trapped under the debris and needed to seek treatment at a local hospital for resulting injuries.

The dangers of construction work: Most common accidents

These are just a few of the many different accidents can happen on a job site. However, four of the most common types of accidents include falls, struck by object injuries, electrocutions and caught-in or between object injuries. The final category, caught-in injuries, includes injuries that result from getting caught in heavy construction equipment.

The United States Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provide more specific data, noting 38.8 percent of all construction accident fatalities are the result of falls. This is by far the most common type of accident that results in a fatality. The other three of the top four common causes combine for less than 30 percent of all fatalities.

Regulations aim to reduce risks: OSHA and fall protection

Unfortunately, employers continue to struggle with safety when it comes to fall protection. OSHA also reports that fall protection in construction was the top most commonly cited violation in 2016. Regulations that employer are required to follow for fall protection include that the employer ensure walking areas are structurally sound enough to carry the weight of the workers and equipment and that all sides that have an edge with a drop of six or more feet shall have guardrails, safety nets or personal fall arrest systems.

Regulations also state that holes, such as skylights or other incomplete upper levels should be covered to reduce the risk of objects falling onto those working below.

A failure to follow these regulations can result in a citation and penalties. OSHA notes that a serious violation or a failure to abate violation can lead to a $12,675 fine for every violation. A willful or repeated violation is much more serious, leading to $126,749 per violation.

When violation leads to injury: Remedies for victims

Although these penalties are designed to help punish violating employers and deter future violations, they do not offer much help for victims who are injured as a result of these violations. Those who are injured in a construction accident may be eligible to receive compensation to help cover the costs that result from the accident. Even if the employer was not fined for a violation, a violation may be present and may have contributed to the injury. Contact an experienced construction accident attorney to review the accident and protect your right to legal remedies.