Workplace accidents are a serious matter and a leading cause of injury and even death. While they can happen at any location or in any industry, there are some professions that naturally have a higher level of risk and, therefore, a higher rate of on-the-job accidents. Monongalia County workers in construction, mining, quarrying and oil and gas know this well. Laws designed to protect employees are important but they are not sufficient to prevent all accidents.
Common Accident Causes
Regardless of the industry or job site, there are some common causes of workplace injuries or fatalities. In 2011, West Virginia recorded a total of 43 fatalities as a result of accidents on the job. Of those, the causes break down as such:
- 42% were related to transportation
- 26% involved contact with equipment or other objects
- 14% were falls to a lower level
- 12% involved harmful exposure
The remaining 7% were caused by a variety of other means. Looking at the reasons for these deaths, it is easy to see how they can happen in a variety of industries and job settings.
Construction’s Fatal Four
Each industry has its own unique level of risk associated with different accident types or causes. Construction site accidents, whether on commercial or residential sites, are all too common. The Office of Safety and Health Administration reported a total of 4,188 job-related fatalities in 2011. Of those, 17.6% were in the construction sector.
The leading causes of accidents on a construction site are common regardless of the construction setting and the top four are known as “the fatal four”. These are falls, electrocution, being struck by an object and being caught in or between objects or equipment.
When you compare this “fatal four” list to that above detailing the top causes for fatalities in West Virginia, the overlap is clear. Similar overlap occurs in other industries as well from coal mining to oil and gas extraction and more.
Every employer is required to carry what is known as workers’ compensation insurance. This is essentially an insurance policy designed to provide some level of financial compensation to employees injured while performing their job duties. A workers’ compensation claim should be filed for every injury, illness or accident that occurs.
A workers’ compensation claim is not a black-and-white thing. There are ways that the amount of money garnered from such a claim can be increased. Working with an experienced attorney is truly the best way to ensure that you receive the maximum amount possible from a workers’ compensation benefit.
There may be times when workers’ compensation alone does not sufficiently address the cost or suffering to employees or their families. These are additional situations where securing proper legal counsel is in the best interest of the injured parties.