Maryland Injury Attorney Blog

Articles Posted in Construction Accidents

This summer, the United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is launching a construction safety awareness and education campaign in the Mid-Atlantic to prevent construction accident injuries and deaths. OSHA is targeting the top four causes of accidental death in the construction industry: falls, crushing, electrocution and caught-in-between accidents.

OSHA compliance officers and other staff participating in the “Construction Incident Prevention Initiative” will conduct educational outreach with employers in Maryland as well as Delaware, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, Virginia and West Virginia. According to the OSHA press release: “The initiative will target health hazards involving silica, lead and hexavalent chromium, and will draw on OSHA’s national campaigns to prevent fall hazards at construction sites and heat illness among outdoor workers.”

The leading cause of construction accident fatalities in Maryland, along with the rest of the U.S., is falls. Lack of fall protection is the number-one reason OSHA cites employers for safety violations.

Falling from a higher elevation accounts for nearly all fatalities resulting from construction fall accidents. This includes accidents involving ladders, scaffolding, roofs, bridge decking, as well as holes in floors such as skylights.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ preliminary data for 2013 identified 294 fall fatalities out of 796 total fatalities in construction. Of those 294 falls, 284 were falls to a lower level. These types of fall accidents can be prevented when employers and construction workers are trained in proper equipment setup, usage and safety measures.

OSHA reports that in June, “tens of thousands of employers and more than 1 million workers across the country joined OSHA in safety stand-downs to focus on preventing fatalities from falls. Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, with hundreds of workers dying each year and thousands more facing serious injuries.”

Related Maryland Construction Accident Attorney Articles:

Maryland Construction Worker Safety : OSHA Cites “Fatal Four” Types of Accidents (Dec. 2013)

Maryland Work Safety : Falls the Leading Cause of Construction Accident Deaths (May 2013)

Sources:

Summer initiative stresses safety in construction throughout the Mid Atlantic
OSHA QuickTakes Newsletter July 1, 2014

US Department of Labor’s OSHA announces summer ‘Construction Incident Prevention Initiative’ in Delaware
OSHA Press Release June 18, 2014
OSHA Stop Falls campaign

The U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released statistics for work-related accidents for 2013 – 2013. As experienced Baltimore County, Maryland construction accident lawyers, we’re well aware of the increased risks that come with certain occupations. OSHA’s list of the “Fatal Four” types of U.S. construction accidents reflect the types of workplace injury and fatality cases our law firm has handled.

OSHA reports that for calendar year 2012 — 3,945 worker fatalities occurred in private industry. Of those, 775 worker deaths (close to 20 percent of the total) were in the construction industry. OSHA identified these “Fatal Four” types of construction accidents accounting for the greatest number of worker deaths:

Falls (36%)
Struck by Object (10%)
Electrocutions (9%)
Caught-in/between (2%)

OSHA estimates that 435 U.S. workers’ lives could be saved each year if construction workplaces could eliminate these fatal four types of accidents. This is why employer compliance to industry safety regulations is so critical — here in Maryland and around the country.

Industry safety regulations are only as good as the construction company’s success at putting them in place, educating workers, and enforcing them. OSHA is a small federal agency with about 2,200 inspectors responsible for the health and safety of 130 million workers, employed at more than 8 million worksites across the U.S. This means one compliance officer for every 59,000 workers. So the onus is on the owners and managers of Maryland construction companies to make sure their workplaces meet federal safety requirements.

The top five OSHA standards violations in the US for FY2013 were…

Fall protection, construction
Hazard communication standard, general industry
Scaffolding, general requirements, construction
Respiratory protection, general industry
Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment, general industry
Industry regulations — coupled with employer compliance and worker education — save lives. Worker deaths in the US are down from 38 a day in 1970 to 12 a day in 2012. But we can do better. Those statistics represent 12 hard-working people who said goodbye to their families as they went off to work — and never made it home again.

Baltimore Workers Compensation attorneys like us work with families and individuals when a workplace accident or death occurs. Prevention goes a long way toward reducing the number of worker injuries and fatalities, here in Maryland and around the country. Have a safe New Year.

Related Maryland Workers’ Compensation Lawyer articles:

Maryland Work Safety : Falls the Leading Cause of Construction Accident Deaths (May 2013)

Maryland Workers Rights : Family and Medical Leave Act Turns 20, But Sick Employees Still Fighting an Uphill Battle (March 2013)

Source:

OSHA Statistics

Look around your Baltimore County, Maryland neighborhood. How many roofs are being repaired or replaced? How safe are those construction workers who are up there walking around and balancing on our rooftops, hammering and replacing shingles for long hours in the sun?

Many of the Maryland Workers’ Compensation injury cases we handle involve fall accidents. It may be a construction work related fall from a roof, scaffolding, or other elevation. We’ve also had cases where clients were injured by falling from a large vehicle (e.g., a tractor trailer truck or crane), or by having a fall when they stepped on a slippery or broken surface at a job site.

A recent article posted by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) confirms what we as Baltimore County work injury attorneys encounter working on behalf of injured clients in Maryland: Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. When someone is injured or killed in a construction fall accident in Maryland or any other state, the toll on the family is significant. Not only are wages lost, but life as that family knew it is never the same.

The DOL article also cites Workers Compensation statistics on the impact on our economy when someone gets hurt or killed in a fall accident at work:

Our nation’s largest provider of workers compensation data – the National Council on Compensation Insurance – found that from 2005 to 2007, 38 states reported that falls from elevations cost insured roofers $54 million per year.

With roofing season now in full swing in Maryland and around the country, worker safety should be top of mind — for both employers and employees. The DOL’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is now kicking off its campaign to prevent falls for the second year in a row. The OSHA Stop Falls campaign is built around three important steps for employers to follow: Plan, Provide, and Train. That is, properly plan for the jobs, provide the right safety equipment, and train all employees in work safety procedures.

We’ve heard many unfortunate stories of construction workers in Maryland who fell to their deaths — or were seriously injured — due to a slip and fall accident that could have been prevented. OSHA provides resource materials for employers written in several languages so that all workers, young and old, new to the job and veterans alike — have the training and equipment they need to stay safe on the job. Construction workers are some of the hardest-working people out there. They deserve to come home safely after a hard day’s work.

Related Maryland Workers Comp Lawyer articles:

Maryland Observes Work Zone Safety Month, as Road Construction Swings into Gear (April 2013)

Maryland Workers Rights : Family and Medical Leave Act Turns 20, But Sick Employees Still Fighting an Uphill Battle (March 2013)

Sources:

The Cost of Falls and What You Can Do to Stop Them
U.S. Department of Labor blog, May 30, 2013
OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign

Falls are the leading causes of accidental death in the construction industry. According to OSHA (the United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration), of the total 774 construction accident fatalities in 2010 — 264 were fall related fatalities (and of those, 255 falls were to a lower level).

Common types of construction worker slip and fall accidents include falls from ladders, roofs, scaffolds, and other elevations, as well as being struck by construction equipment or building materials, resulting in a fall. Falls may also occur when safety equipment such as harnesses or other means of personal fall protection malfunction or fail. Another cause of serious and fatal construction accidents is falling through openings in the floor.

In hopes of preventing injuries and saving lives, OSHA has partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) – Construction Sector on a nationwide outreach campaign. The groups aim to raise awareness among employers and workers about common fall hazards in construction, and how falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs can be prevented.

Maryland construction accident injury lawyers represent individuals who are hurt on the job, as well as families of those loved ones killed in construction work accidents. The basic themes of the agencies’ fall prevention awareness campaign involve three steps: Plan (ahead to get the job done safely), Provide (the right equipment), and Train (workers to use the equipment safely).

An interactive map published by NORA reveals the locations and details of construction worker deaths across the U.S. in 2011, including fatalities due to falls that occurred on the job. The map lists two cases where construction workers were killed in falls while working on job sites in Maryland last year:

  • A bridge mechanic in Havre De Grace (Harford County, Md.) was working on the tracks on a Susquehanna railroad bridge when he fell 90 feet to his death in September.
  • Another deadly construction fall occurred in Millington (unclear if in Kent or Queen Anne’s County, Md.) in June (no further details).

According to NORA, the purpose of the interactive map is to display the numbers and locations of construction related deaths in the U.S., due to falls and other causes. NORA reports that more than 200 construction workers are killed and over 10,000 are seriously injured by falls in the U.S. each year.

As an experienced Harford County, Maryland Workers’ Compensation attorney, I can say that behind every construction accident statistic is the story of a family whose lives were changed in an instant. With the summer months upon us and construction projects in full swing, here’s hoping the government’s message of recommended safety measures will indeed save lives and prevent injuries from construction fall accidents — in Maryland and around the country.

Related Maryland Injury Attorney article:

Maryland Work Injury and Death Statistics Shed Light on Most Hazardous Occupations (Jan. 10, 2012)

Sources:

NIOSH, OSHA and CPWR-The Center for Construction Research and Training Announce National Campaign to Prevent Falls (PDF)
NIOSH Press Release April 26, 2012
OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign

Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction (includes interactive map of U.S. construction accident deaths; drill down into the Maryland map)

The Washington Post reported that a construction accident near the Beltway claimed the life of a 27-year-old man from Bryantown, Maryland.

According to Maryland State Police, the traffic accident occurred early on July 15, 2010, on Pennsylvania Ave/Route 4 in Forestville, Maryland, near the Beltway. Reports state that a road construction worker was killed when he was crushed between two dump trucks. The victim was brought to a Prince George’s County, Maryland, trauma center, where he died shortly after.

Prince George’s County construction accident lawyers are well aware of the hazards to workers in and around highway and road construction zones. Road workers often perform their jobs at night, in narrow sections of the highway, with heavy construction vehicles moving closely alongside laborers on foot.

According to The Center for Construction Research and Training, highway incidents were ranked among the top causes of construction worker death in the U.S. in 2005, with transportation accidents amounting to 28.4% of all deaths from construction injuries. (Source: The Construction Chart Book, The U.S. Construction Industry and Its Workers, Fourth Edition, Dec. 2007.)

This Maryland construction truck accident is being investigated.

Man killed by dump trucks in Md.
The Washington Post July 15, 2010
Related Web Resources

The Center for Construction Research and Training

Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health

Last fall, we posted a blog article on the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) preliminary results for its 2008 census of fatal occupational injury rates. The BLS recently released its final numbers, which were slightly higher than originally reported based on identification of new cases of work-related injuries and deaths. The final data offer the following insights regarding worker safety in the U.S.:

o A total of 5,214 work fatalities occurred in the U.S. in 2008 — the lowest number of work-related deaths since the BLS began conducting its census in 1992. This represents a national fatal work injury rate of 3.7 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers.

o Private industry construction accidents causing death have declined (975 deaths in 2008 — 19% lower than in 2007); and the fatal work injury rate for this sector is down by 10%. However, even with these notable statistical gains — which translate to lives saved — construction remains one of the most hazardous forms of work, with a 9.7 fatal work injury rate (per 100,000 FTE workers).

o Fatal work-related highway accidents (including truck accidents) numbered at 1,215 — 14% lower than in 2007 and the lowest since the census began in ’92.

o Work deaths caused by falls amounted to 700 — 17% lower than in 2007 (though the U.S. Department of Labor is advocating for greater slip, trip and fall prevention in the workplace; look for a future blog article on this issue. Falls from ladders, roofs, scaffolding, and other high elevations are a major cause of brain and spine injury in construction workers).

o One negative note: Workplace suicides were up to 263 cases — the most ever reported.

Maryland Worker Injury Fatality Rates on the Decline
As fatal occupational injuries have declined across the U.S., Maryland has also seen reductions in work fatalities — 60 work related deaths occurred in 2008, compared to 82 deaths in 2007 and 105 deaths in 2006. Causes of Maryland work-related deaths include transportation and trucking accidents, falls, contact with objects or equipment, exposure to harmful substances, as well as assaults and other acts of violence.

As an experienced Baltimore, Maryland work accident lawyer, I have worked with individuals and families who have experienced these types of work-related injuries and fatalities. Often people hurt at work are unsure what to do and whether to file a Maryland Workers Compensation claim along with a possible lawsuit. Which is why it’s so important to contact an experienced work injury attorney if you’re hurt in course of performing your job in Maryland, or if a family member is killed due to a work accident.

For more on this issue, read my blog post on Maryland Workers’ Compensation Liens and Construction Accident Injury: “Can I File a Work Comp Claim AND a Third Party Lawsuit?”

Sources:

Revisions to the 2008 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) Counts (PDF)
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 22, 2010
Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (Current and Revised data)
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Fatal Occupational Injuries in Maryland
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Related Web Resources

Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (homepage)

An industrial truck driver hauling cargo in Maryland was fatally injured when granite countertop slabs he was unloading from the back of a flatbed truck slipped and fell on him. According to news reports, the fatal industrial truck accident occurred Monday in Hanover, Maryland. The Baltimore Sun reported that the driver, a 41-year-old man from South Carolina, was delivering slabs of granite to a countertop company. As the driver unloaded his cargo, the granite slabs slipped and fell on him, killing him.

Anne Arundel County, Maryland police responded to the truck accident scene and identified the victim. The Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Department is reportedly investigating this construction work-related accident.

A Maryland construction accident lawyer may be consulted by workers or their families when injury or death occurs due to a work accident.

Maryland Workers Compensation claims are often part of such construction injury or death cases.

Maryland Construction Accident Fatalities : Labor Statistics
In Maryland, 59 people died in work related accidents in 2008. According to the national Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number-one cause of construction work related deaths in Md. involves transportation — whether highway transportation and/or hauling freight, such as in this case, or nonhighway transportation, with vehicles moving on a construction site. Construction transportation accidents also include pedestrian accidents where a construction worker is struck and killed by a vehicle on the construction site.

(Source: National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2008, United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Aug. 20, 2009)

South Carolina man identified as victim in Hanover industrial accident
The Baltimore Sun April 13, 2010
Local Truck Driver Killed in Industrial Accident
WLTX.com April 13, 2010
Related Web Resources

Maryland Dept. of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation

Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH)

Construction work in Maryland often involves long hours, hard labor, modest wages, and job security that’s entirely dependent on the season, the market, and the employer. As experienced Baltimore, Maryland Construction accident attorneys, we’ve represented many clients over the years who were injured while performing their construction jobs. One question we get asked all the time is…

“Can I file a claim under Maryland Workers’ Compensation and a lawsuit against the at-fault party (or parties) at the same time?”

The answer is YES. However, as with most things legal, there are many factors to consider.

Maryland Workers Compensation Liens Against Third-Party Recovery
Construction accidents in Maryland may frequently involve Workers Compensation claims and liability lawsuits. In Maryland, if you’re a construction worker and you get hurt on the business premises, in the course of your employment, while performing your job — you can pursue a workers comp case. But what if you believe your injury was caused by a third-party’s negligence or recklessness — be it another contractor, a subcontractor, equipment operator, or some other worker or party involved at the construction site?

If you’re a worker injured in a Maryland construction accident, you don’t have to choose between filing a Md. Workers Compensation claim and suing the responsible parties for what’s called a third-party liability claim. You can do both. Remember, however, if you are awarded a third-party recovery in a construction accident lawsuit, the Workers’ Compensation carrier is allowed by law to place a lien against that recovery.

For example, a builder we’ll call Joe Mason suffers a neck and spine injury when his pickup truck is rear-ended by another vehicle at the construction site. As a result of this construction truck accident, Joe needs money to pay his medical bills, cover his lost wages, and compensate him for his permanent impairment, so he files a Maryland Workers Comp claim. Joe is awarded $120K in permanent partial disability benefits by his employer’s workers comp insurance carrier. At this point, Joe’s Maryland injury attorney pursues a lawsuit against the other construction vehicle driver, and Joe receives a third-party recovery settlement of $240K. But, as law would have it, Joe isn’t allowed to “double dip.”

Under Maryland law, the Workers’ Compensation carrier is entitled to a lien against any third-party recovery. So Joe might have to pay the Maryland Workers Compensation carrier some of their monetary outlay back. Special emphasis on some. An experienced Maryland injury attorney can, will and should negotiate with the work comp people to get that lien reduced, so injured construction workers like Joe can benefit from as much compensation for their injuries as possible.

Workers’ Compensation liens are just one reason why it’s so important to work with an experienced Maryland Workers’ Comp lawyer if you’re hurt while performing your construction job. This is a very complicated area of the law, and one must proceed with extreme caution in handling such claims. It really is a no-brainer. In a situation like this, the best bet is to focus 100% on getting the treatment you need, feeling better and getting back to full capacity, and let the lawyers handle these complex legal issues.

Related Web Resources

Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: Construction Safety

A career site’s list of the best and worst jobs for 2010 reveals something Baltimore County work accident attorneys have known right along: The physically most demanding jobs are also the most dangerous and can lead to serious personal injury, lifelong medical problems, and even death.

Recognizing the risk to life and limb when construction accidents occur, job search site CareerCast.com ranked construction as the no. 8 worst job to pursue this year. The no. 1 worst job was “roustabout,” which includes oil rig and pipeline workers, followed by lumber jack and iron worker. The site considered the following factors while conducting research to rank the jobs: Environment, Income, Outlook, Stress and Physical Demands.

Construction Worker made the list due to the physical demands, higher rates of injury, and low median income, though the hiring outlook is “moderate.” And Maryland, while our stevedores (dock workers) weren’t in the bottom 10 jobs, they weren’t far behind — stevedores ranked 185 out of 200 jobs analyzed, with a hiring outlook of “poor” (besides the challenging work conditions if you can get a job as a dock worker on the Baltimore and Maryland waterfront).

Maryland Workers Comp lawyers know that the most dangerous jobs are also often the least secure — particularly when workers are injured and unable to support themselves and their families. The Maryland Workers’ Compensation insurance system doesn’t make it easy for injured workers to file claims. It’s a long process, with many places where hurt workers who are inexperienced with the complexities of the insurance system can easily get tripped up and derailed.

That’s why we always recommend injured workers of all professions — construction workers and dock workers, as well as people who work in offices and other environments — always talk to an experienced Md Work Comp attorney before trying to file a claim on their own.

Oh, and be nice to your taxi driver, mail carrier, and meter reader. Their jobs also ranked in the list’s bottom 10.

The Best And Worst Jobs For 2010
Forbes.com Jan. 8, 2010
Related Web Resources

CareerCast.com:

The 10 Worst Jobs of 2010

How We Determined the Top 200 Jobs of 2010

What would you guess are among the most dangerous jobs in Maryland? Construction? Roofing? Electrical work? You’d be right on all those counts, but some of the top causes of fatal occupational injuries in Maryland may come as somewhat of a surprise. According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), of the 59 people who lost their lives due to work-related accidents in Maryland in 2008…

> Transportation accidents (which include air, rail, highway transportation including freight trucking accidents, nonhighway transportation, and being struck and killed by a vehicle, e.g., construction site worker pedestrian accidents) accounted for 17 deaths;

> 9 fatalities resulted from Assaults and Violent Acts (including self-inflicted injury);

> 12 were victims of Falls;

> 10 died due to Contact with Objects or Equipment;

> and another 10 perished due to Exposure to Harmful Substances.

Maryland Occupational Injury Death Rates Decline
The good news from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is fatal occupational injuries are down across the United States, including significant reductions in Maryland (59 work related deaths occurred in 2008, compared to 82 deaths in 2007 and 105 deaths in 2006).

Total U.S. workplace deaths in 2008 amounted to 5,071 — down from 5,657 in 2007. Deaths from falls — a major hazard for construction workers — were down, as were fatal transportation accidents. Workplace homicides declined, but sadly, workplace suicides went up in 2008. The BLS reports all these numbers are preliminary, and final figures will be made available in April 2010.

As Maryland Work Injury Lawyers, we have seen all these types of work-related injuries and fatalities. Many families are unaware that they may be entitled to Maryland Workers’ Compensation benefits even after their family member has died. That is why it is so important to contact an experienced Md workers’ compensation attorney to find out what benefits you may be entitled to — before accepting an offer from the employer or speaking to their attorney or insurance company representative.

NATIONAL CENSUS OF FATAL OCCUPATIONAL INJURIES IN 2008
United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Aug. 20, 2009
Maryland Division of Labor and Industry
Fatal occupational injuries by industry and event or exposure, Maryland, 2006 (XLS doc)

Related Web Resources

Maryland Division of Labor and Industry Research and Statistics Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH)

Bureau of Labor Statistics, State Occupational Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities