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Federal data shows construction work is one of the most dangerous jobs in America

By: Casey Clark

CHICAGO (May 22, 2019) – A recent crane accident in Seattle that killed four people reaffirms why construction is one of the most dangerous jobs in America.

The accident occurred when a rig fell from a downtown Seattle building and into traffic below. The victims of the construction crane accident were identified as two ex-Marines who were working as the crane’s operators, and a college freshman and a retired city worker who were in separate cars. Four other people in their cars at the time of the accident were injured.

Federal data shows that 21 percent, or 971 of the 4,674 private industry deaths in 2017 were from the construction industry – that’s over one fifth of all private industry deaths annually. On average, there are more than 99 construction deaths per week.

READ MORE | Construction work is one of the most dangerous jobs in American private industry

OSHA reports the most common causes of death in private industry, or “The Fatal Four,” are falls, being struck by objects, electrocutions, and being caught in-between. (This includes construction workers killed when caught-in or compressed by equipment or objects, and struck, caught, or crushed in a collapsing structure, equipment, or material.) The “Fatal Four” accidents were responsible for more than half of construction worker deaths in 2017.

Experts say cranes are probably the most dangerous piece of equipment.  On average, 44 people are killed while working with construction cranes every year, according to federal data. Experts say cranes are probably the most dangerous piece of equipment.

OSHA has only recently begun enforcing regulations that require employers to test crane operators before allowing them to run their cranes this year. As of February of this year, all newly hired crane operators must become licensed and receive ongoing training to operate any new equipment. The new evaluations rate crane operators’ fitness based on the individual type of crane he or she is operating. Under the previous regulations, crane operators were required to be certified only by the general size and capacity of crane.

While it has been a slow process, annual worker deaths have gone down from 38 deaths a day in 1970 (a year before OSHA was founded) to 14 a day in 2017. Experts hope these numbers will continue to drop as technology and safety regulations improve.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a construction accident, the lawyers of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. can investigate your case and determine the options available to you for seeking a recovery of your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages. Please visit our construction accident page to learn more about how we can help you seek justice for your injuries. 

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