Construction Accident in Northern California

Construction work takes place every day in sunny California. While many construction projects reach completion without any dangerous accidents or injuries, construction work can be extremely hazardous. Indeed, construction accidents often result in severe and fatal injuries. According to a recent article from ABC 7, a freeway bypass collapse in Willits left four construction workers with serious injuries and another trapped beneath debris.

Details of the Mendocino Bypass Collapse

How did this accident happen? Caltrans has been working on a freeway bypass in Mendocino County. It’s intended to be a nearly 6-mile overpass, but it has encountered a number of problems along the way. Most notable, it “has been beset by lengthy delays and cost overruns.” The bypass is projected to cost around $210 million, but it has only reached approximate 50 percent completion. It’s also two years behind schedule.

According to officials, when the construction workers began to pour concrete for the project, “a 150-foot temporary steel and wooden structure known as falsework suddenly collapsed.” The collapse took place in an area only accessible to construction workers.

In addition to the serious accident dangers posed by the bypass project, California residents have contested its construction due to environmental concerns. To be sure, both opponents of the project have filed lawsuits in hopes of preventing unnecessary damage to the environment. Such opposition has been a notable contributing factor to the construction project’s delay. Authorities report that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be looking into the bypass collapse.

Serious and Fatal Workplace Accidents

Construction accidents are among the most frequent and deadly workplace accidents in America. But how often do they happen? And what steps can construction workers take to prevent serious and fatal accidents?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2013, more than 4,600 employees sustained fatal injuries at work. In connection with a news release that reported the high number of deadly workplace accidents, the BLS released some of the following information about fatal workplace incidents:

  • About 15 percent of all workplace deaths involve contractors. In many cases, these contractors are employed by the construction industry.
  • Fatalities in the construction industry have risen in recent years. Between 2011 and 2012, construction fatalities rose by nearly 10 percent (to a total of 806 deaths in 2012).

Employers can help to prevent deadly construction site accidents by taking the proper safety precautions. In particular, employers must take steps to reduce the following types of accidents:

  • Falls, which lead to more than one-third of all construction accident deaths;
  • Being struck by an object, which results in about 10 percent of construction fatalities;
  • Electrocution, which leads to almost 10 percent of all deadly construction accidents; and
  • Being caught in or between a structure or operating device, which accounts for approximately 2 percent of deaths that occur in the construction industry.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident or in another workplace accident, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. A San Diego construction accident attorney at the Walton Law Firm can discuss your options with you today.

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