December 21, 2017
It’s among the deadliest industries to work in in the United States. Construction often entails dangerous working conditions and incredible hazards, putting the lives of construction workers at risk. There are many ways workers can suffer construction injuries on the job: falls from great heights, being crushed by equipment, or any of a variety of terrible circumstances. Sadly, some construction workers pay the ultimate price in a construction accident, and their loved ones are left to grieve.
Construction Fatalities Increased from 2015 to 2016
In recent weeks, at least three construction workers have died in accidents from around the U.S. It’s part of a trend in which the overall number of construction worker fatalities increased by six percent from 2015 to 2016, according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the same report, in 2016 the construction industry had 991 worker deaths, higher than any other industry and making up approximately 20 percent of work-related fatalities in 2016.
The report noted that the four major causes of construction deaths, making up 64 percent of fatalities in 2016, are falls, “struck-by” accidents, electrocution, and caught-in-between accidents. Regarding the deadliest jobs, roofing came in fourth while structural iron and steel working was sixth.
Safety advocates note that very few construction deaths are linked to true accidents. Instead, they are often caused by improper training, lack of proper equipment, and employer or subcontractor negligence that puts the lives of construction workers at risk. Furthermore, fall protection is the most-common construction industry violation.
Construction Worker Dies After Falling in Hole
A construction worker in Charlotte, North Carolina, died after falling into a hole on a construction site on Tuesday, December 19. According to reports, the accident happened at Charlotte Pipe & Foundry, when the worker fell in a hole that was dug to “pour footers for a new fall protection system,” an official with Charlotte pipe told WBTV.
The worker’s name was not immediately released, but he was identified as a contractor from Wiggins Construction. He suffered serious injuries and was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Officials are investigating the accident.
A worker in Kansas died after a trench collapse poured 16 to 20 tons of dirt on him. The victim was part of a crew doing subcontractor work to put in an underground utility pipe, according to reports. The accident happened at around 10:30 a.m. on December 20, while the victim was working in a 10-foot hole north of Wichita.
The victim was not immediately identified, but an official said he was between 25 and 29 years old.
Officials from OSHA are investigating the accident.
Mississippi Construction Worker Killed in Accident
Meanwhile, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, a construction worker died under circumstances that are still under investigation. The accident happened on December 15 at a construction site at The District at Midtown. Killed in the accident was 45-year-old Paul Anthony Lawnicki.
Though officials do not know what caused the fatality, a spokesperson for Hattiesburg Police Department said it was possible Lawnicki contacted a live power line while working on an aerial lift. According to reports, witnesses saw smoke and sparks. One witness told a news station that she ran outside when the power in a local business went out to see a man unconscious in a machine, with smoke coming from his body. A short time later, he was on fire.
“Kind of traumatizing, to see somebody just instantly die like that right in front of you and there’s nothing you can really do,” said Jozlyn Baker. Officials are investigating the accident.
Contractors and suppliers who carry out construction work have a duty to ensure everyone on a construction site has access to the safest possible conditions. This includes providing necessary safety gear, ensuring workers are properly trained to use all tools and equipment they may come into contact with, and following regulations regarding construction and demolition. Unfortunately, not all contractors and suppliers follow the rules, leaving workers at risk of life-threatening and other serious injuries due to negligence.
Although officials can hold negligent parties responsible for violations of safety regulations, in some cases fines are not enough to prevent egregious violations. At Cutter Law, P.C., we’re committed to ensuring construction workers have the safest work environment possible by holding negligent suppliers, third-parties, and subcontractors accountable for their actions.
If you or a loved one has been harmed in a construction accident, contact an attorney at Cutter Law, P.C., today. Our attorneys have fought to protect the rights of construction workers, and will advocate to ensure you receive the compensation you’re entitled to. We will advise you of your rights and help you understand all your options, so you can make the best decisions for you.