The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is once again underscoring the hazards posed by trenches. In fact, the number of trench-related fatalities is on the increase, with 23 such deaths recorded in 2016. Workplace accidents involving excavations happen nationwide, including in Illinois, despite the strict safety regulations that govern trenches.
Of all the different industries in Illinois, employees in the construction sector are at the highest risk. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the rate of fatal construction accidents exceeds the average rate of deaths in all industry sectors nationwide. What is concerning is the fact that most fatal injuries are caused by a few common types of accidents, which are all preventable by compliance with safety regulations.
Any Illinois workers who move about below others at higher levels will be at risk of being struck by falling tools. Even a small tool dropped from a significant height can cause a deadly workplace injury. However, it is not only workers on high-altitude work sites such as scaffolds and masts that must take care. Those on elevated areas of warehouses and other workplaces also have to be careful.
The Construction Safety Week 2018 that runs between May 7 and May 11 nationally will aim to elevate awareness of the importance of creating safe work environments in Illinois and elsewhere. Workers must receive adequate training and personal protective equipment to keep them safe and healthy. An insurance company that is one of the sponsors of the stand-down urges companies to pay particular attention to training and onboarding. The insurer says claim data indicates that more than half of the injuries are suffered in construction accidents within worker's first year on the job.
During the recent National Work Zone Awareness Week, the Illinois Department of Transportation worked hard to create awareness of the hazards faced by those who risk their lives to make the roads safer for motorists throughout the state. A spokesperson said many drivers do not realize how exposed these workers are to the dangers of traffic. They can often feel the wind from the big rigs and cars that speed through construction zones with the drivers having little or no regard for the safety of construction workers. It is no wonder that so many workplace accidents occur in construction zones.
Although occupational injuries occur in all industries, construction workers are said to face higher risks than others. Despite the fact that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides comprehensive safety guidelines and regulations to prevent construction accidents, they continue to occur on sites nationwide, including in Illinois. Workers in this industry may do well to gain knowledge about what to do in such circumstances, rather than learning on the fly after being critically injured.
It will not be long before crews of road construction workers are out there to make Illinois roads safer by doing repairs, maintenance and improvements. Unfortunately, impatient and distracted vehicle operators often disregard the danger zones. Every year, lives are lost, and serious injuries suffered in road construction accidents that could have been avoided.
Although women hold an insignificant percentage of jobs in construction nationwide, including in Illinois, they face unique hazards. In 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recognized that disparity, and an alliance was formed with the National Association of Women in Construction. The two groups recently renewed this alliance and secured another five-year agreement. Their goal is to limit workplace injury incidents that happen because of the limited protection available for women.
Construction workers in Illinois face life-threatening risks on every shift they work. Safety authorities maintain that falls cause a significant number of serious and even fatal injuries in the construction industry. Employers must follow safety regulations that can protect the health and safety of employees.
No one imagines sending a loved one off to work and them never coming home, but for one out-of-state family, this was a sad reality. Fatal construction accidents are often the result of lapses in safety that put Illinois workers, not employers, at the most risk. Death benefits through workers' compensation often essential for surviving family members who rely on lost wages compensation.