Many serious work-related injuries and fatalities occur in construction accidents. Although construction activity and accidents have declined because of the economic recession, construction accidents still represented one-fifth of all worker deaths in private industry in the U.S. in 2010. The construction industry consistently has the highest rate of workplace injuries in Massachusetts.
Four dangers in the workplace were responsible for more than half of construction worker deaths in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The four hazards are:
- Struck by objects;
- Caught in/between objects or machinery.
In Massachusetts, falls were a leading cause of work-related deaths, and construction workers were among the workers at highest risk of a fatal injury, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Fifteen workers died in falls in Massachusetts in 2010, while 4 died from contact with equipment or objects. Many of those were construction workers. Nationwide, falls accounted for 260 of the 751 construction worker deaths last year.
Last year, a Weymouth, Mass., contractor was assessed more than $61,000 in fines for alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards after a worker fell 30 feet while climbing a scaffold in Brookline, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Federal work safety inspectors found that the workers were not supplied with fall protection while working on the scaffold, and the scaffold lacked a ladder or other safe means for reaching the upper levels. Employers must provide fall protection for each employee on a scaffold which is more than 10 feet above a lower level.
In addition, the safety inspectors determined that the scaffold was not fully planked, creating an added fall hazard. And the scaffold was located less than 18 inches from an un-insulated and energized power line, exposing workers to the risk of electrocution.
Employers have a legal responsibility to provide a safe workplace for workers. When they fail to do so, an injured worker may have legal rights to seek compensation in addition to receiving workers’ compensation.
In some instances, a construction worker employed by a subcontractor may be seriously injured because another subcontractor created a workplace danger or a general contractor failed to maintain a safe work site. Similarly, an employee of a general contractor may be harmed by the disregard for the safety of a subcontractor. A construction worker injured in this circumstance may be entitled to file a third-party claim against the party that caused the accident, in addition to receiving workers’ compensation.
It’s important to understand your legal rights after a workplace injury.
About Our Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
For more than 20 years, Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., has represented the interests of injured and ill workers throughout Massachusetts, including but not limited to Boston, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Plymouth and Merrimack River. We also represent Rhode Island and New Hampshire residents whose injuries occurred in Massachusetts or who were hired in Massachusetts but who were injured out of state.
For a free case evaluation of your workers’ compensation claim, please complete our online form or call Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., toll-free at (800) 367-0871 to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.