Construction workers in Illinois are often at a high risk of workplace accidents due to the nature of the job. Dealing with heavy machinery, precarious and unfinished structures and arduous physical labor can lead to serious on-the-job injuries that lead to lifelong disabilities or even fatalities. While the nature of construction work poses its own dangers, these threats are significantly intensified when employers and work sites fail to follow best practices and federal guidelines for safety. One of the most concerning aspects of construction work can be labor in trenches and excavations with the attendant risk of collapses, cave-ins and falls.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has identified the improvement of safety in trenches and excavations, created by the removal of large quantities of earth, stone or other natural fillers from the ground, as a key priority for workplace safety in 2018. While approximately two workers have been killed every month since 2011 in construction accidents linked to trenches and excavations, that number more than doubled in 2016. In response, OSHA has promoted a program of awareness-raising, testing and guideline reviews in order to promote a higher level of workplace safety.
Some construction industry representatives have laid the blame on the growing number of injuries and fatalities on mistakes or inattention by workers, saying that they are ignorant of safety rules and inadequately supervised. However, workers’ organizations have pointed to safety violations on construction sites alongside a lack of enforcement of existing federal safety rules for trenches and excavations.
Construction workers who have been injured on the job can face severe personal injuries, disabilities and even fatalities as a result of serious construction accidents. Workers who have been injured on the job have a right to compensation. A workers’ compensation lawyer may help construction workers hurt in a workplace accident protect their rights and pursue accountability for safety violations.