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Construction workers face enhanced risks on the job

Every day, almost 6.5 million workers at roughly 252,000 construction sites all over the the United States are involved in the building industry. But these workers have a higher than average fatality rate from injuries that occur on the job; in fact, construction workers' fatality rates exceed the nation's average for this category for all industries.

As reported by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, some hazards for construction workers include:

-- Falls

-- Trench collapses

-- Scaffold collapses

-- Electrical shock/arc flash/arc blast

-- Failing to use proper personal protective equipment

-- Injuries from repetitive motions

By far, falls are the deadliest hazard facing construction workers, as they annually cause the greatest number of deaths for those working in the building industry. There are multiple factors that come into play with worker falls, and they include having unstable work surfaces, human errors and misusing or failing to use equipment to prevent falls.

Injuries and deaths can often be prevented when construction sites employ safety nets, restraint and fall arrest systems, guardrails and covers.

Scaffolding presents its own dangers to workers when not assembled correctly. Approximately 2.3 million construction workers typically perform their jobs while on scaffolds. If they are protected from accidents, an estimated 50 deaths and 4,500 injuries could be avoided every year.

An often-overlooked yet still deadly source of on-the-job fatalities and worker's injuries are stairs and ladders. According to OSHA estimates, 36 construction workers die each year, and another 24,882 suffer injuries from falls on ladders and stairs. Of those injuries, approximately 50 percent cause the injured worker to have to take time off from work to recover.

If you have lost a loved one in a construction-related death, you may wish to pursue legal action in the Illinois civil courts.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Worker Safety Series Construction," accessed Sep. 09, 2016

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