Construction worker injury and fatality realities

In 2015, the private construction industry experienced more workplace fatalities statewide than did any other industry.

Illinois residents should be able to trust that their employers maintain safe work environments and properly train personnel so that people who show up for work each day are able to do their jobs and make it home alive at the end of their shifts. Sadly, this does not always happen. In any industry or line of work, a job accident can happen and change a person's life in the blink of an eye.

How many people die in workplace accidents?

According to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, the number of people who lost their lives in work-related incidents nationally in 2015 rose compared to 2014. In 2015, a total of 4,836 deaths were recorded.

The increase in worker fatalities seen across the U.S. was also seen in Illinois. In 2014, there were 164 deaths of workers. That number jumped by eight to 172 in 2015. Overall, the 2015 figure represents an increase of 28 over the 146 deaths just three years prior.

What factors are involved in worker deaths?

Both nationally and in Illinois, the number one factor in accidents in which employees died in 2015 was transportation. In Illinois, 59 of the 172 deaths involved some form of transportation, accounting for 34 percent of the total fatalities. Slips, falls and trips were involved in 33 deaths or 19 percent of the overall state fatalities. Another 17 percent of the deaths in Illinois were impacted by contact with objects.

How many fatalities happened in the construction industry?

It was workers in the construction industry employed by private companies who lost more people in work accidents in 2015 in Illinois than anyone else. A total of 38 construction workers were killed in job incidents. The year before, there were 28 such deaths.

What are some examples of incidents in Illinois?

Media reports offer insights into many different incidents including one from last June in which three men laying brick were critically injured after falling from a scaffold. WSIL3 explains that a fourth worker also fell but was released from the hospital after being treated on the day of the fall. A federal investigation was launched into the event.

The Northwest Herald gave details of the suffocation death of another construction worker in Geneva late last summer. The man was reportedly working in a crane to put up a sign in a shopping center tower when he somehow became lodged between the tower and the crane. His neck was compressed, cutting off his airway. He died by asphyxiation. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration was said to be investigating this incident.

What should happen after a work accident?

Certainly tending to injuries is a priority but once that immediate need has been addressed, injured workers or their family members should reach out to a lawyer. This will give them a chance to learn how they may seek compensation for their injuries or losses.