Construction is a risky business for workers, but for those working in Boston, MA, there seems to be an additional cause for concern. Throughout 2022 and into 2023, construction site accidents in Boston made headlines as injuries and fatalities added up. The news highlights workers’ challenges in an industry full of inherent hazards.
Construction is one of the most dangerous industries in the state and nationally. If you sustain injuries on a construction site, Better Phone Stone. Our construction site accident lawyers can help you hold accountable those responsible for the accident that caused your injuries.
Boston’s Run of Construction Accidents
In 18 months, construction accidents resulted in at least seven fatalities. Numerous other accidents led to severe injuries. Though construction site accidents aren’t uncommon, the number of incidents in the Boston area within such a short time has many wondering if this city is safe for those in the industry. A few examples of the tragedies construction workers faced in 2022 and early 2023 follow.
One of the city’s largest construction companies shut down its operations after two accidents within a short time caused four worker injuries. The first accident occurred when part of a building collapsed. One person was trapped under falling debris and experienced life-threatening injuries, while two others also required medical treatment. Just one day later, another worker on a separate worksite sustained serious injuries after falling 30 feet.
In another 2022 construction site accident on a garage structure project, one worker died when a section of the structure collapsed, sending the car he was in plummeting down with the building. The same incident injured another construction worker. At yet another site, a worker was crushed to death when curbing material fell on top of him. 2023 did not start off any better, as one construction worker suffered fatal injuries after falling. That accident occurred on a construction site at Mass Gen Hospital in January.
Massachusetts Worksite Fatalities
Across the state, construction ranks second for worksite fatalities, behind the fishing and agriculture industries. An average of 67 workers die from injuries sustained in workplace accidents, with more occurring in fishing, agriculture and construction than any other industries in the state. It gives pause for thought when seven construction workers die in 18 months in a single city.
A Massachusetts Fatal Injury at Work update for 2020 revealed that eight construction workers lost their lives in falls to a lower level that year, just one lower than the number of fatal accidents in 2021-2022 in Boston. In 2020 as in previous years, the leading causes of death at the workplace for all industries included the following:
- Unintentional drug overdose
- Transportation accident
- Homicide and suicide
- Struck by a falling object
However, falls are the leading cause of death for construction workers in Massachusetts and the country.
The Industry’s Record Nationwide
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks construction accident injuries and fatalities, paying close attention to slips, trips and falls. These accidents are often preventable, yet they cause significant harm every year. In 2020, there were 1,034 fatal construction site accidents. Of those, 371 were slip, trip and fall incidents, with 353 fatalities occurring after falls to a lower level and nine from falls on the same level.
That same year, the rate of nonfatal injuries and illnesses resulting in missed work time was higher for the private construction industry than for all private sectors considered as a whole. The injury rate in construction was 31.4 per every 100,000 workers versus 21.7 in all sectors.
Occupational Hazards in the Construction Industry
While falls cause more fatal accidents in the industry than anything else, this type of accident is certainly not the only hazard for construction workers. Frequently, multiple dangers are present at any given time on a single site. Even when they’re functioning correctly, power tools pose a safety threat. Faulty tools — whether from neglect, age or poor manufacturing practices — pose an even greater risk.
Falling objects are another concern. In Boston, the same company that shut down for a time because of construction site accidents resulting in injuries also had issues with falling debris at its city’s project sites. Struck-by accidents can also occur from swinging objects, from tools to equipment. Another related hazard is getting caught between two objects, such as a building and a piece of equipment.
Many construction workers are exposed to hazardous substances, some of which can cause severe illnesses. Asbestos is among the worst, and Massachusetts ranks 13th in the nation for asbestos-related deaths. An estimated 589 people in Suffolk County have died from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses between 1999 and 2017. Unfortunately, construction workers are at high risk for asbestos exposure.
Steps To Take After a Construction Accident
If you have a construction accident, you need to take steps to protect yourself. Your physical well-being is a priority. The most severe accidents require immediate medical attention. You may not be able to do anything else at the moment. After you attend to emergency medical needs, take the following steps:
1. Capture Images
If at all possible, you should take photos and videos of the site before leaving the worksite. Include images that show the conditions in your immediate area and your injuries. You may need to enlist help from a coworker. Try to get pictures from as many angles as possible.
2. Inform Your Supervisor
You also need to inform your supervisor of the accident. Massachusetts workers’ compensation laws have specific requirements for employers, insurers and workers. First and foremost, the law considers all workers employees, so the company or individual you work for should have workers’ compensation coverage.
However, the insurance company may deny your claim. The nature of construction sites provides insurance companies with ample excuses to withhold benefits. With multiple parties involved, a third party may be liable for the accident, in which case you may need to pursue other avenues for compensation.
3. Contact an Attorney
You should contact an experienced construction accident lawyer right away. There is too much at stake for you to try to handle your claim on your own. An attorney can assess your case to determine who is likely at fault. Your legal team will conduct the research and gather the evidence. They will investigate the worksite to ascertain what caused the accident and who to hold accountable.
If your case is indeed a workers’ compensation claim, your legal team can help you obtain the benefits you are owed. Should the workers’ comp insurance provider deny your claim, you need an attorney to help you through the dispute process. Workers’ compensation laws are complex, and the state’s Workers’ Compensation Board recommends legal assistance navigating a dispute.
When your accident is due to a third party’s negligence, a construction accident lawyer can help you pursue compensation from the other party’s insurance company or a legal claim. Your attorney handles all aspects of a third-party claim, from building your case to negotiating a settlement with the other side.
Jason Stone Injury Lawyers Helps Construction Accidents Victims
Jason Stone Injury Lawyers is here to assist you with your construction accident claim. We help all construction workers injured on the job understand their rights and know their options, no matter how serious the injuries. You deserve justice, so before you take what the insurance company offers, Better Phone Stone. There’s No Obligation, Just Information®.