Especially now that summer is here in New York, residents of the state may see more orange barrels indicating roadwork is being done and they may see more buildings being erected or refurbished. Construction work is necessary, but it is also dangerous, and it is not unusual for construction site accidents to occur. In fact, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has labeled what it has coined the “Fatal Four” most common types of construction accidents.
OSHA reports that in 2017, one-fifth of worker deaths in the private industry in the nation, excluding highway traffic accidents, were construction deaths. Of those deaths, falls, being struck by an object, being electrocuted and being caught-in/between objects were the four primary causes of construction worker deaths, accounting for nearly 60 percent of fatalities in the industry. If these “Fatal Four” causes of construction worker deaths were eliminated, 582 lives could be saved annually.
In 2017, 39.2 percent of construction worker fatalities were caused by falls. Being struck by an object caused 8.2 percent of construction worker fatalities that year. Electrocutions accounted for 7.3 percent of construction worker fatalities in 2017. Finally, in 2017 being caught-in/between objects caused 5.1 percent of construction worker fatalities.
When a construction worker dies on-the-job, his or her survivors must determine how they will get by financially, especially if the deceased was the primary income-earner in the family. Property owners and contractors must provide a safe work environment, and per New York State Labor Law Section 240, could be held strictly liable. This can be the case even if the worker was partially at-fault for the accident. Of course, pursuing a lawsuit following a construction site accident is very complex, so those who need more information about whether they can pursue a claim following a fatal construction site accident will want to seek the legal guidance needed to help them understand their options.