The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported that the United States saw 4,779 fatalities in the construction industry in 2018. Construction industry accidents may occur for a broad range of reasons, but there are four main causes of deaths in construction that OSHA considers the “Fatal Four.” These accidents include being caught in or between equipment and objects, electrocutions, falls, and being struck by objects. Contributing factors for these accidents may include negligence, as well as unsafe work conditions. Some accidents may involve the improper use of tools or equipment, as well as a lack of protective gear.
Examples of the Main Causes of Accidents in Construction
The Fatal Four made up the most likely potential causes of accidents in construction in 2018 according to OSHA, including:
- Falls: when looking at the main causes of accidents in construction, falls make up 33.5% of fatalities. Some of these may result from floor holes, improper scaffold, misuse of portable ladders, and unprotected sides.
- Struck by object: up to 11.1% of fatalities on construction sites are when objects strike workers. The leading cause of these accidents includes falling or flying objects and vehicle accidents.
- Electrocutions: approximately 8.5% of construction-related fatalities involve electrocutions. Some of the leading causes include contact with power lines, improper use of cords, and no ground-faults.
- Caught between objects: around 5.5% of fatalities on construction job sites involve accidents being caught between objects. Factors leading to their accidents include failure to inspect protective systems or trenches, unsafe egress or access, or unsafe spoil pile placement.
Other causes of potential construction industry accidents may include a lack of fall protection on elevated structures or a lack of protection from falling objects. Accidents involving trip hazards from debris or construction materials may also be an issue. If workers do not receive adequate protection in trenches, as well as when using tools or equipment, that may also lead to accidents and injuries.
Let a Lawyer Help You Potentially Recover Compensation
New York Labor Law (LAB) Article 7, §200 defines the legal obligations general contractors have to their employees. It states they must ensure all workers receive “reasonable and adequate” protection for their safety, lives, and health. In addition to general contractors, this means a property owner should also take steps regarding safety guidelines on construction job sites.
According to New York Law Article 10, Section 240, construction equipment must be erected, fastened, and secured on job sites. This labor law also states that construction workers may hold the property owner or general contractors liable for injuries involving:
If construction workers sustain injuries involving these objects on a construction site, a lawyer may be able to help them file for the compensation they may be entitled to. This may also apply to cases involving:
- Big equipment accidents
- Explosions or other burns
- Highway construction accidents
- Lifting accidents
- Machinery accidents
- Trips and falls
- Wrongful death
Time Limits for Construction Accidents
There are two statutes of limitations regarding the main causes of accidents in construction in the state of New York. If construction workers are potentially the victim of negligence, including slip and fall accidents, New York’s Civil Practice Law & Rules (CVP) Section 214 outlines a three-year statute of limitations from the incident’s date for personal injury cases. However, if a worker is the victim of wrongful death, New York’s Estates, Powers & Trusts (EPT) Section 5-4.1 indicates that the personal representative of the victim’s estate has two years from the date of the incident.
Potential Recoverable Damages for a Construction Accident
It is not uncommon for medical bills to start adding up following a construction site accident. Even if you are suffering from a minor injury, that may still prevent you from returning to work. That means, in addition to medical bills, there may also be a loss of income that may affect your living expenses.
Those who experience a construction work accident may be able to seek damages including:
- Compensation from a negligent third party, including architects, contractors, and owners
- Workers’ compensation benefits
While workers’ compensation benefits claims may be helpful, there are limits regarding recovering damages for disability, loss of income, and medical expenses. You may also be entitled to compensation for:
- Emotional distress, including depression, PTSD, and anxiety
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Loss of opportunity
- Nursing care and rehabilitation
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and other disfigurements
Turn to a Construction Industry Lawyer Today
For those who find themselves suffering from injuries due to one or more of the main causes of accidents in construction, the team at Morelli Law Firm may be able to help. Contact one of the members of our legal team (212) 751-9800 to set up a free consultation so we may review your case.