The size and power of earthmoving equipment used in construction mean that accidents involving these pieces of equipment are almost always fatal. Construction workers need to understand this risk in order to protect themselves on the job site. Families of construction workers need to understand their rights if they lose a loved one due to an earth moving equipment accident.
Risk of Fatal Injury Increases When Earthmoving Equipment Is Introduced
Construction is a dangerous job field. Though construction workers make up about 7 percent of the total workforce, around 20 percent of all industrial fatalities involve construction workers. When the use of earthmoving equipment is added to the scene, the risk increases significantly.
In a study published in the Journal of Safety Research in 2018, researchers found that on-foot workers were at the highest risk for fatal accidents involving earth moving equipment. Of the various types of equipment that could cause an accident, backhoes were the most common pieces of equipment involved. On-foot workers who were struck by the equipment were the most common type of accidents cited.
Poor Worker Training and Missing Protection Systems Leading Causes for Fatalities
What makes earthmoving equipment so dangerous beyond its sheer size and power? Often the answer lies in the operation of the equipment. Inadequate safety training was the most common reason for accidents on job sites in the study. When safety training did not include the required OSHA training protocols, operators were more likely to make mistakes leading to accidents. Missing seat belts or failure to use seat belts was also a common problem. Finally, missing safety equipment on the vehicles themselves often led to accidents. Without following proper OSHA guidelines, companies put their workers at risk.
Construction companies have a legal and ethical obligation to provide safe working conditions for their employees, and when they fail to do so workers compensation lawyers can help victims or victims’ families get proper compensation. Workers who see safety violations should speak up to make their job sites safer. Unfortunately, when these accidents do occur, they are highly likely to cause death. Companies need to do a better job of training operators and other employees to help reduce the risk of these accidents.