The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is once again putting the spotlight on trench hazards and the number of lives lost in unsafe trenches every year. Workers in Arizona and all other states are at risk of being injured or killed in construction accidents that involve cave-ins and other excavation hazards. Safety authorities say the number of workers who died in trenches nationwide in 2016 was double the number of similar deaths in 2014 and 2015 combined.
It is no secret that there is a nationwide opioid epidemic, and safety authorities say construction workers in Arizona and other states are most affected. The debilitating injuries that workers suffer from construction accidents, and the frequency of these incidents, contribute to the crisis. The fear of losing their jobs, or unknown periods of disability and the financial consequences play significant roles in the fact that some construction workers would rather use opioids than seek help with dependencies, and physical and mental health.
There is an endless number of safety risks on any construction site in Arizona. Although safety authorities say almost all construction accidents are preventable, it is essential for all workers to wear the necessary personal protective equipment at all times. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires construction workers to protect themselves from suffering concussions or other traumatic brain injuries by never being on-site without hard hats.
It is always traumatic for any family to lose a loved one in a workplace accident. Construction accidents are often fatal, and the circumstances of one such accident in Arizona likely caused the surviving family members even more trauma.A 52-year-old construction worker lost his life, but it took several days to recover his body.
Working on scaffolding structures is nothing strange in the construction industry. Because it is so common, workers and employers become complacent, and sometimes neglect to take the necessary care. Scaffold-related construction accidents have cause many serious injuries and even some fatalities in Arizona. Safety guidelines must be followed throughout, starting when the structure is erected.
Trenches are known to be some of the most hazardous areas in which workers can find themselves. Although the Occupational Health and Safety Administration has a set of regulations to address trench-related hazards specifically, fatal construction accidents continue to claim lives in Arizona and elsewhere. A trench-related accident recently claimed the life of a man on a construction site in a neighboring state.
Construction workers in Arizona face as many risks as those in other states. Excavations present some of the most hazardous conditions, and many fatal construction accidents are due to collapsed trenches. Employers continue to allow employees to work in unprotected trenches -- often alone -- despite the strict safety regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Such circumstances led to the recent death of a construction worker in another state.
Arizona construction workers who suffer on-the-job injuries can pursue compensation for medical expenses and lost wages through the workers' compensation system. However, workers' comp benefits will not cover damages such as pain and suffering, and it is essential for injured workers to know their rights. If construction accidents resulted from gross negligence by employers or were caused by the negligence of third parties, the victims might have grounds to file civil lawsuits to recover the compensation they deserve.
In Arizona, some employers are allowed to carry their own insurance instead of state-approved workers' compensation insurance. For that reason, employees often have questions about their options for compensation after suffering injuries in construction accidents or other incidents in their places of work. While workers' compensation is typically regarded as the only source of compensation, injured workers are entitled to explore other options.
While workplace injuries can occur in any industry at any time, some occupations are more hazardous than others. Workers in the construction industry in Arizona put their lives on the line daily because there is such a wide variety of potentially deadly tasks they have to do. Falls from scaffolding form a significant percentage of construction accidents that lead to severe injuries or death, and many of these tragedies are found to have been preventable.