There are a number of different elements that draw people in Omaha to the construction industry. The freedom of a nontraditional work environment is certainly one of them, as is the satisfaction of contributing to the growth of the local business or residential communities.
Yet for all the advantages that working in the field offers, it also has its drawbacks. Most notably of these is that construction consistently ranks among the most dangerous professions.
Common causes of workplace fatalities
According to information shared by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, over 20% of the workplace fatalities reported from the private sector in 2017 occurred in the construction industry. There are any number of features of a construction site that may have the potential for producing fatalities. However, a vast majority (almost 60%) are due to four causes:
- Falls from heights
- Being struck by falling objects
- Crush injuries (getting caught in equipment or in between equipment or materials and work surfaces)
Dubbed the Fatal Four, the particular hazards are inherent with construction work. Employees in the industry should be able to look to their employers to provide protection from them.
Construction employers failing in their duty
Knowing the common causes of work-related fatalities should be able to help employers be better prepared to protect employees from them. However, not all employers are proactive in this. In fact, several of the worksite safety violations commonly cited by OSHA relate specifically to the Fatal Four, such as not placing adequate protection from falls and improper machine guarding. Such failures may open employers up to liability should an employee suffer a serious injury or death while on the job.
If a construction employee dies in a work-related accident, the worker’s families (as well as any other dependents) should receive workers’ compensation death benefits. Such a death benefit should be equal to 75% of the employee’s salary and should only end when those they supported no longer need such assistance, such as a spouse remarrying or a child reaching the age of majority.