Protecting Workers from Construction Hazards

Construction site accidents affect thousands of American workers annually.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 5,000 workers were killed on the job in 2016. That amounts to 99 worker deaths per week, or 14 each day.

Of those fatalities, one in five occurred in construction. The most common causes, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA):

  1. Falls  (39 percent of construction deaths)
  2. Struck by Object (9 percent)
  3. Electrocutions (8 percent)
  4. Caught or Crushed by Material/Equipment (7 percent)

OSHA, which tracks and enforces worker safety, refers to these as the “Fatal Four.”

Now, there are federal policies and standards in place to protect workers from these types of accidents. But too often, we hear of violations. The number one cited violation in 2017, according to OSHA? Not having adequate fall protection on the construction site.

The number one violation in 2021?  Fall protection.

Number one in 2015?  Fall protection.

2014?  You guessed it.

Notice a pattern?

Simply stated, when companies ignore safety rules, people get hurt and people die. But if the rules were enough, OSHA wouldn’t report the same violations year after year.  That’s where we come in.

At Keefe, Keefe & Unsell, we fight to protect workers by making it too expensive for companies to cut corners.

We have a track record of holding equipment manufacturers, contractors and others accountable for construction injuries due to negligence, equipment failures and other lapses.

One such example is the case below, in which we secured a $9.44 million verdict for an electrician who suffered a job-ending injury as a subcontractor on a construction site.

For more case summaries like this one, visit our Case Results page.

CASE: Spencer v API Construction; 13-L-293
VENUE: St. Clair County, IL
VERDICT: $9.44 Million
DATE: August 19, 2016

Our client was a subcontractor on a construction site. He was standing under a ladder, wearing his hard hat, when someone descended that ladder without first looking to ensure it was safe to do so, and stepped on his head. Our client underwent multiple neck surgeries, ended up with a fused neck, was facing a future surgery and was rendered unable to continue to work within his chosen profession – as an electrician by trade. He also had a history of preexisting neck problems.

Despite the strong objection of the defense, the Court made a finding that API Construction was solely responsible. We then proceeded to a trial on damages. Our client had $140,318.04 in past medical expenses. We proved $803,000 in future medical expenses and $1,500,000 in lost wages – past and future. In total, the jury awarded $9,443,318.04. This included $2 million for past pain, suffering and loss of a normal life. It also included $5 million for future pain, suffering and loss of a normal life.

The jury returned the verdict in 14 minutes.

Serious fall? Accident resulting in crush injuries? Fire, explosion, or other preventable accident? If you’ve suffered from any of these types of construction or other premises or job-related accidents, contact us today. Workers’ compensation and health insurance benefits may not be your only resource for covering medical bills and other economic challenges created by your injuries.

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