The construction industry ranks among the most hazardous for employees, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Construction jobs in California are no exception. A recent article from CBS News reported on a deadly structural collapse at a construction site in Oceanside close to El Camino High School. Construction areas can pose hazards both for construction workers at those sites and for passersby who are in or around the area of construction. How did the accident happen? While the accident remains under investigation Cal/OSHA, we can take a closer look at construction accident statistics and safety issues in order to understand the risks posed by this industry.
Employee Fatally Injured by Falling Concrete Slab
Although the recent accident in Oceanside is still being investigated, we do know some facts about the deadly incident from the CBS News article. The accident occurred at around 9 a.m. at a FedEx warehouse facility that was in the process of being built on Avenida del Oro. The construction worker had been positioned “alongside a drainage channel . . . when a section of retaining wall fell on him for unknown reasons.” A crane operator attempted to remove the extremely large concrete slab that fell into the construction employee (a piece of building material estimated to be about three feet by twelve feet), but the worker had already died from injuries.
Suffering a fatal injury as a result of being struck by an object is, unfortunately, a scenario that is all too common in the construction industry. According to a fact sheet from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), being struck by an object is among the “fatal four” of common accidents in the construction industry. OSHA cites the following data concerning construction’s “fatal four” and the number of deadly injuries reported each year:
- Falls (349 deaths, or nearly 40% of all annual construction deaths);
- Electrocutions (74 deaths, or 8.5% of construction-related fatalities);
- Struck by Object (73 fatalities, or 8.4% of all construction deaths reported per year); and
- Caught in/between (12 deaths, or 1.4% of reported annual fatalities).
California Construction Accident Risks
The “fatal four” identified by OSHA occur at construction sites across the country, but California is no stranger to these deadly incidents. An article in Safety and Health Magazine identified a trend of fatal construction accidents in California last year. It emphasized that Cal/OSHA inspectors have traveled to local construction sites to ensure that the following areas for safety issues are taken seriously and that employers take proper precautions:
- Equipment safety; and
- Power lines.
In the past, Cal/OSHA has emphasized that awareness about safety issues on construction sites is one of the primary ways to help prevent accidents from happening. Yet even construction companies that have paid very close attention to hazards and have taken significant precautions can learn that an accident occurred at a worksite.
If you or someone you love suffered a serious or fatal injury at a construction site, it is important to speak with an experienced San Diego construction accident lawyer about filing a claim for financial compensation. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about how we can assist you.