Out of all industries, construction is considered to be one of the most dangerous for workers and for the general public. In fact, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration attributes around 20 percent of all fatal workplace injuries to the construction injuries. Nonfatal injuries are also much more common among construction workers. The general public is, in turn, often put at risk because of the accidents that cause workplace injuries and fatalities to workers. To reduce the occurrence and risks to all, one Canadian study suggests the use of union workers.
Construction Worker Deaths and Injuries in the United States
Within the construction industry, four types of accidents are responsible for 57 percent of all fatalities – falls (responsible for 39 percent of construction fatalities), being caught between objects (2 percent), being struck by an object (10 percent), and electrocution (9 percent). If these four types of injuries were completely eliminated, it would save approximately 435 American lives each and every year.
Unfortunately, studies have indicated that the trend is actually going the other way; workplace injuries are actually rising instead of falling. Some experts believe this may be due, in part, to workers becoming too “comfortable” in their jobs and simply forgetting to follow safety rules. However, the Canadian study suggests the issue may be much deeper, and that certain safety standards may be ignored by employers.
Union Workers Experience Fewer Injuries and Fatalities
Although workers’ compensation claim rates were higher among union workers, according to the Institute for Work & Health (IWH), most injuries among union workers consisted of less serious, medical-only claims that did not lead to lost wage reimbursements. In fact, claims that included lost time at work were reduced by 14 percent among union workers when compared to non-unionized construction workers. Though not specifically included in the study, this could suggest a better overall working environment and a lower risk of serious and fatal injuries.
Unions do more than simply fight for fair wages; they also make workplace safety a priority and encourage better occupational injury reporting (which, in turn, can improve safety). Having these kinds of protection can encourage employers to better follow safety standards, and it can lead to improved information regarding the reasons behind the most common causes of injuries and fatalities. This provides protection to both employees and the general public.
Injured Due to Construction Work? Our Construction Accident Attorneys Can Help
Construction injuries do not affect just workers; visitors and passersby are also at risk. All may be entitled to fair compensation for any deaths or injuries sustained. It is important to understand, however, that these types of cases can be extremely complex. As such, victims should contact a skilled and experienced construction accident attorney immediately.
The attorneys of Kinnally Flaherty Krentz Loran Hodge & Masur P.C. have been serving the victims of Illinois construction accidents for more than a century. We work with both workers and non-workers, carefully analyzing their situations, to determine how to best build a personal injury case against responsible parties. Receive personalized and aggressive representation by first requesting your free initial consultation with our Illinois construction accident attorneys. Call 630-907-0909 today.