Boston is in the midst of a residential construction boom that is changing the skyline faster than at any other time in history, according to the Boston Globe. They further report that there are over 14.6 million square feet currently under construction. This explosion in growth has given those in the construction industry steady employment, but sadly, the boom comes with an increase in serious and fatal construction accidents.
Injured construction workers turn to the Michael Kelly Injury Lawyers to help them to seek justice and compensation after a serious injury, as do families following the death of a loved one.
According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the most frequently violated safety standards in the most recent year involved:
- Fall protection
- Hazard communication
- Respiratory protection
- Powered industrial trucks
- Electrical wiring methods
- Machine guarding
Serious workplace injuries can occur when standards in any of those areas are ignored. If you were injured due to a fall on a construction site, get help from Michael Kelly Injury Lawyers in Boston. We are a workplace injury law firm who fights for the rights of injured workers in the Boston area and throughout the state.
Construction Accidents in Massachusetts: The Statistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks all industries for injuries, illnesses and fatalities. For the most recently reported year in Massachusetts, 14 construction workers died on the job. The breakdown of these accidents reveals two were related to injuries associated with violence, two deaths were from transportation accidents, six were the result of falls and four were due to contact with objects and equipment.
The “Fatal Four” in Construction
OSHA reports that the “fatal four” national accidents in the construction industry are as follows:
Falls accounted for 36.5 percent (302) of the total number of fatal construction accidents. OSHA requires that construction companies provide specific fall protections, including:
- Guard all floor holes with a railing, toe-board or floor hole cover
- Provide a guardrail and to-board around each elevated open-sided platform, floor or runway
- Guardrails to protect workers from falls into equipment
- Safety harness and line, nets, stair railings and handrails
All employers are required to provide working conditions that are free of known dangers, with floors in work areas clean and dry as much as possible, and to provide personal protective gear to workers free of charge. Employers must also train workers about the various job hazards, in a language they understand.
Struck by Object
Struck by an object accounted for 10.1 percent (84 deaths) of all fatal construction accidents. Workers are at risk of severe injury or death while working construction if federal safety standards are not followed. Working or walking below any elevated work surfaces can put a worker in danger. Materials being moved overhead, and suspended loads, the correct storage of materials, and the use of power tools or the actions of pushing, pulling, or prying can all lead to flying objects and hazards for workers. Grinding or striking materials can create flying objects, and pressurized air higher than 30 psi can drive oil or other particles through the skin. Heavy equipment on construction sites pose a risk of being struck by objects at ground level.
Electrocutions accounted for 8.6 percent (71 deaths) of all fatal construction accidents. Clearly, there are extreme hazards associated with working around electricity. According to OSHA, the dangers include improper grounding, exposed electrical parts, inadequate wiring, damaged insulation, overloaded circuits, damaged tools and equipment, wet conditions and the hazards of working near overhead power lines. Accident prevention involves personal protective equipment, careful inspection of all tools and cords, and immediate reporting to the supervisor if any hazards exist.
These hazards accounted for 2.5 percent (21 deaths) of all fatal construction accidents, and are associated with a worker who is caught inside of or in between two different objects, often occurring if working around heavy equipment. Worker safety involves ensuring that workers understand that they must not be located between a piece of heavy equipment and any stationary object, or within the swing radius of rotating equipment. Caught-in accidents occur when equipment has removed or disabled guards, or when working around equipment with moving parts that could trap any clothing or body part. Gloves, sleeves, jewelry and clothing can be caught and lead to serious or permanent injuries. Workers are at risk when stacking and storing materials that could fall, or when working inside any excavation that is unprotected and could cave-in.
Other Construction Accidents
While OSHA lists the fatal four construction site accidents as the top causes of injuries, other dangerous conditions may be present, including:
- Equipment-Related Accidents
Many workers use handheld tools including nail guns, saws, and conduct many activities on a construction site that require ladders, bulldozers, excavators, tractors and other equipment, all of which can pose a danger if safety regulations are violated.
- Forklift Accidents
Forklifts injure approximately 20,000 workers and fatally injure another 100 each year, according to the National Association of Wholesale Distributors. Overturns are reported as being responsible for 25 percent of the deaths, and the leading cause of fatalities. Forklifts driven off loading docks, and workers being struck by a forklift, or falls between the equipment and a stationary object are all serious hazards that can lead to death or catastrophic injuries.
- Explosions and Fires
Fire safety is a critical issue on construction sites, and the hazards associated with exposed wires and gas lines, heating fuel, gas-powered tools, and combustible chemicals put workers at risk if safety regulations regarding fire safety are violated.
- Scaffolding Accidents
Scaffolding can collapse if improperly secured when constructed, and can give way, leaving a worker permanently or fatally injured. Those beneath are also at risk. While working on scaffolding, workers must be provided with safety gear to prevent a fall.
- Falling objects
Tools, equipment, supplies, and debris falling from an elevated location can leave a worker permanently injured after being struck on the head or other body part.
Why You Need A Lawyer
If you were injured working in the construction industry in Boston, you need a construction accident lawyer to help you. You have the right to workers’ compensation benefits, and there may be a third party aside from your employer who holds some responsibility for what occurred. If so, we could help you to pursue compensation beyond workers’ comp benefits.
Workers’ comp benefits pay out a percentage of your wages, covers your medical costs, rehabilitation and retraining, but includes no compensation for pain and suffering or other non-economic damages.
As The Michael Kelly Injury Lawyers, we pride ourselves in being compassionate, dedicated and prepared to fight for your right to every form of compensation. Our goal is to secure a high value settlement or verdict on your behalf, and we are confident and aggressive in handling each and every case we retain. Call right now to get started.
- Boston Globe: A New Age For An Old Town
- OSHA: Safety and Health Topics, Fall Protection
- OSHA: Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards
- BLS: Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities
- OSHA: Big Four Construction Hazards
- OSHA: Big Four Electrocution Hazards
- OSHA: Big Four Caught In/Between Hazards
- NAW: Forklift Safety Awareness
- OSHA: Powered Industrial Trucks
- OSHA: Fire Safety