Most stay-at-home orders deemed construction workers essential. Now we’ve had many construction projects that were on hold or delayed because of external situations. Until suddenly, there were weeks at a time where construction crews could work with little concern for people walking near the building or entering the building or even traffic. Cincinnati is well known for its ongoing construction and renovating of long-forgotten regions of the city. Did construction site injuries and deaths rise during the stay-at-home order?
If you or a loved one have been injured in a construction site accident, contact a Cincinnati personal injury attorney for help.
Ongoing National Trend of High Construction Site Injuries and Accidents
The current feeling is that there are more construction site injuries and accidents now than ever. However, it’s hard to say for certain without clear data from a reliable source. Construction companies and projects always come with some accidents and injuries. It’s not just complacency. Sometimes it’s just bad luck. For example, workers on a bridge may catch a strong gust of wind that pulls a tool off a bench and then strikes someone. That’s an injury that largely seems unavoidable.
But accidents seem to be on the rise now because so many projects are working at full-steam. Many have the goal of completing as much of a project as possible before the stay-at-home orders lift. At the moment, construction crews have the joy of working without the worry of pedestrians, people entering their building, or even being able to close down streets completely. It’s something truly rare in the construction industry. Unfortunately, trying to work quickly often leads to mistakes.
Cincinnati began seeing an uptick in construction accidents before the stay-at-home orders. As far back as November of 2019, there was a worker who died at a Turner Construction job site where a partial building collapse trapped a man.
Why Now? Construction Changes During Shelter-In-Place Orders
In a typical situation, the construction industry experiences non-fatal injuries at a rate that is 71% higher than all other industries. That stems from electrocution/shock injuries, slip-and-fall, getting hit by objects, and getting caught between objects. These situations are not usually all present in other industries. In short, construction is a high-risk industry, and they are essential workers. It’s not entirely clear at this point if construction accidents are actually rising or if they are only more apparent and in the news because all other news is waning.
Understanding OSHA Investigations During This Time
OSHA hits companies hard in multiple ways. First is the investigations where they may interview employees, review files, and supervise day-to-day happenings. Then are the fines. It’s expensive to have OSHA on-site, it’s expensive to pay their fees, and it’s expensive to help staff recover from the disruption.
However, these elements all help to keep construction and other high-risk industries in line. If they don’t want OSHA showing up, then they better be safe. How can they make that happen now when OSHA employees don’t necessarily seem essential?
What’s happening is that OSHA is still receiving and processing complaints. Their immediate response teams are still working, and if anything, they’re working overtime. States and cities are taking advantage of shelter-in-place orders to try to accomplish as much building as they can without interruption. That rushed mentality is making more accidents happen than what is normal. OSHA realized this trend early on and helped to sort out which require immediate response, and which don’t.
They are upholding their 24-hour response to all deaths and serious injuries at this time.
Is it Possible to Reduce Construction Site Injuries and Fatalities?
Yes! It is absolutely possible to reduce injuries, and companies that work closely with OSHA and third-party safety awareness companies have a head start. Construction employers should be very aware of the great risk their employees face. Then they should take every possible precaution from PPE to raising awareness and educating staff about the risks and dangers on a job site.
Wrongful Death and Personal Injury Attorneys in Cincinnati
If you or a close family member suffered severe construction site injuries, you need to take action. While OSHA is doing their investigation, and the company is certainly working to understand what happened, you’re left suffering. Your injuries could leave you out of work indefinitely. Whereas a lost family member could not only come with the trauma of losing someone so close, but the financial damage to the family of losing an income source.
All Cincinnati employers have an obligation to their employees. Construction workers should have the same level of protection and stability in their day-to-day environment as anyone else. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case, and what you can do is take legal action to hold these companies responsible. Reach out to Young, Reverman & Mazzei for help.