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Construction Site Accidents: Federal Laws on Safety Standard and Workers’ Compensation

The US Department of Labor recognizes construction site accidents as among the leading causes of work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths in the US with falls, being struck by an object (such as a falling tool), getting caught between objects (like between two heavy equipment) and electrocution, as the top four causes. Besides the top “Fatal Four,” as called by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of 1971, other causes of harm include: use of weak ladders and hoists, lack of railings to protect workers from edges of roof and building, and weakly assembled scaffoldings, among many others. Records from the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor show that, in 2008, construction site accidents reached a total of 1,016. There was a lower number of accidents in 2012, though, with 817, due mainly to the strict enforcement of the safety standard law by OSHA. OSHA, which was created by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) of 1970, bears the primary task of assuring the implementation and maintenance of a healthy and safe working environment. It should also lead in: the implementing OSH Act’s workplace safety standards; providing training programs directed at increasing the number, and improving the competency, of occupational safety and health workers; providing analysis, evaluation, development and approval of workplace safety and health programs; and, monitoring of work-related injuries and illnesses. Before the turn, and during the early part, of the 20th century, construction workers, who figured in accidents or who developed a work-related illness, had no immediate financial recourse that will enable them to undergo the necessary medical treatment. An accident also affected the daily ration of food on the table as they were rendered incapable of performing their work due to the injury or illness. The worst scenario, however, was when the injury took them off from work for...
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