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Construction workers at risk from safety violations

Construction workers in Chicago can face serious dangers on the job every day. Workplace injuries and accidents can be catastrophic or even fatal. Indeed, 5,147 workers were killed while working in 2017, meaning almost 100 workers lose their lives at work every week. Of the 4,674 of those workers employed in private industry who were killed in 2017, over 20 percent were in the construction industry.

There are a number of common causes of construction accidents, and some of them are particularly devastating. Falls are the leading cause of death for workers in private industry, and people working at heights are at especially high risk of serious falls. Other causes of severe injury included being struck by objects, electrocution or being trapped between objects or structures. Together, these four types of workplace accident caused nearly 60 percent of all fatal construction incidents. By reducing or eliminating these accidents, hundreds of workers' lives could be saved.

Construction workers are at particular risk when their employers fail to abide by federal safety standards set out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The most commonly violated workplace regulation in 2018 applied to fall protection in construction, meaning that many workers are performing their duties at heights without proper protective gear to protect them in case of a fall. The third most frequently cited violation applied to scaffolding at construction sites; poorly constructed or dangerous scaffolds could pose a particular risk of catastrophic falls.

Injured construction workers may be unable to return to the job due to severe pain and damage while they face mounting medical bills. These costs can be especially high when an employer's negligence or violation of standards was to blame. A workers' compensation lawyer might help injured workers to protect their rights and seek compensation for the harms they have suffered.

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