Maryland Injury Attorney Blog

Articles Posted in Construction Accidents

We drive by them all the time as we travel Maryland’s highways: road workers filling in potholes, repaving roads, or making improvements to our transportation infrastructure. Maryland’s highway construction workers put themselves in harm’s way every day — often with little more than a row of orange cones or barrels between themselves and speeding traffic. Same goes for utility workers, traffic police, flaggers and others who work in road construction zones.

However highway workers aren’t the only ones at risk when drivers speed through work zones. Drivers who approach work zones too quickly can fail to safely navigate detours, lane shifts, barriers, construction equipment and other obstacles that come up fast. According to the Maryland SafeZones project, four out of five crash-related injuries in work zones are suffered by motorists themselves. Continue Reading

The Baltimore Sun reports three workplace fatalities in Harford County, Md., last month. Two of the fatal work accidents were in the construction industries, while the third involved a paramedic fatally struck in a motor vehicle accident. As experienced Maryland workplace injury attorneys, we are all too aware of the high risks involved in both the construction trades and in the life-saving work performed by our emergency responders, often under hazardous conditions.

The Sun reports the following fatal workplace accidents in Harford County, Maryland, in January….

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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.

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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%)

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.