Construction workers face tremendous workplace injury hazards every day. The construction industry is vital to our thriving economy and our growth as a modern society, but it is incredibly costly in terms of lives lost and workers injured. In 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were more than 2,332,290 workers employed in the construction industry, which includes carpenters, construction laborers, construction managers, electricians, engineers and construction equipment operators. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that of the 4,693 worker fatalities in private industry in 2016, 991 of those fatalities, or 21.1% of those deaths, were doing some kind of construction work.
We have compiled some surprising facts about the construction industry and the hazards workers face to do their jobs.
- There are four types of injuries that account for about 64% of construction worker deaths in 2016. OSHA estimates that eliminating the “fatal four” would save 631 workers’ lives each year in the U.S.
- Falls — 384 out of 991 total deaths in construction in 2016 (38.7%)
- Struck by object – 93 (9.4%)
- Electrocutions – 82 (8.3%)
- Caught-in/between – 72 (7.3%)
From October 2017 to September 2018, 49% of the 49 workplace fatalities in North Carolina were in the construction industry (24) which is double the number for the previous fiscal year. Of those 49 fatalities, 37% were struck by injuries (18), 27% were from falls from height (13). North Carolina Department of Labor (NCDOL)
- According to Safety & Health Magazine, over a 45-year career, a construction worker has a 75% likelihood of experiencing a disabling injury and a one in 200 chance of being fatally injured in the job.
- The failure to provide adequate fall protection is the most frequently cited OSHA standard. This is no surprise, given that 384 of the 991 deaths in the construction industry were from falls.
- About 60% of construction accident injuries will occur in the worker’s first year of employment according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) This speaks to the importance of proper training and supervision for new construction workers.
- Nearly all construction workers will have at least one work-related injury in their lifetime, and they also have a greater risk of premature death according to Safety & Health Magazine.
Making a claim for workers’ compensation in NC
In North Carolina, injured workers are required to report their injuries to their employers, and then immediately seek medical attention. You must formally report your workplace injury to your employer in writing within 30 days of the incident. You must inform the health care provider that this is a work-related injury, and give the doctor your employer’s name so that your care can be billed to your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer. If your doctor gives you treatment instructions, make sure to follow them and keep up with any follow-up appointments. A workers’ compensation claim can be filed with the North Carolina Industrial Commission to help you recover workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ compensation is not the only source of recovery for injured construction workers. If your injury was because of a defective tool, or because of the negligence of a non-employee, you may have grounds for a third-party personal injury lawsuit. Our Charlotte workplace injury attorney can help you determine the best course of action given the facts of your case.
Construction sites are among the most dangerous – and deadly – worksites in the country. If you were injured while on the job, we want to hear from you. Please call 704-275-5593 or contact the Charlotte workplace injury lawyers at the law office of Warren & Kallianos, PLLC for a free consultation.