Now that spring is here in Burlington County and summer is on its way, residents of the state can expect to see more orange barrels on the roads and the erection of new buildings and other construction projects. While maintaining our infrastructure systems and erecting office spaces, stores and housing are good for the public and the economy, it goes without saying that construction work is a dangerous job. In fact, certain construction accidents are so common that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have dubbed them the “Fatal Four.”
In the 2017 calendar year, over 4,600 private industry workers were killed on-the-job. Of these deaths, just over 20 percent were in the construction industry. Of these, falls, being struck by objects, electrocutions and caught-in/between incidents — the “Fatal Four” — accounted for 59.9 percent of construction worker fatalities that year. OSHA estimates that if these incidents were eliminated, it would save over 580 lives annually.
In calendar year 2017, 39.2 percent of construction worker deaths were due to falls. And, 8.2 percent of construction worker deaths were due to being struck by an object. Over 7 percent of construction worker deaths were due to electrocutions. Finally, 5.1 percent of construction worker deaths were due to caught-in/between incidents.
Construction workers who are injured on the job may find themselves suffering not just physical harm, but financial troubles as well. They may incur many medical expenses, both present and ongoing. These expenses are compounded by the fact that they may not be able to return to the workplace and thus are not being paid. However, workers who find themselves in such situations may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits are a financial safety net for those who are injured on the job, allowing them to obtain the medical care and financial resources they need to recover. Applying for workers’ comp is not always straightforward. Sometimes, an initial claim for benefits is denied.