The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recorded 991 deaths among construction workers in 2016, the highest workplace fatality rate of all fields in the United States. Many of the workers that year were operating heavy machinery when they suffered fatal injuries. Some pieces of equipment are more dangerous than others.
What construction equipment is most apt to injure or kill someone?
Dump trucks are among the most dangerous types of machinery that construction workers operate and the leading cause of struck-by injuries. There are cases in which truckers forgot to pull down the truck’s bed, or it malfunctioned, leaving it in an upright state, causing property destruction that, in turn, resulted in bystanders’ injuries. Improperly maintained or functioning hydraulic hoses have also forced the unexpected releases of loads and beds to fall suddenly, trapping workers underneath.
The BLS contends that cranes are the most dangerous piece of equipment on construction sites, however. They have held this same unfortunate ranking for at least 20 years. The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) data shows that at least 632 construction worker fatalities between 1992 and 2006 involved cranes. They’re not only unstable, but there’s a high risk for their loads to fall off, something that is sure to injure or kill.
Three similarly functioning construction machines that often cause injuries or deaths are backhoes, bulldozers and excavators. It’s not uncommon for operators to accidentally strike others with these pieces’ buckets, shovels or plates. There’s always a chance of these machines tipping over, trapping someone underneath, or an articulating piece of the equipment can strike power lines, resulting in electrocution.
What options do you have if you had an accident involving construction equipment?
Many safety analysts emphasize that maintaining equipment and receiving adequate training on how to use it is key to minimizing injuries and deaths. What they often don’t mention, though, is how equipment manufacturing defects or malfunctioning often result in workers and bystanders getting hurt or dying.
Am attorney can help you explore the ways the law may allow you to recover compensation for your injuries or losses through either a workers’ compensation claim, a personal injury claim against a third party with liability (like the manufacturer of the equipment in use) or both.