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Construction Workers Most At-Risk of Workplace Death

Fatal Fall At Detroit Construction Site Raises Concern For Job-site Safety

A 46-year-old construction worker died following a nearly 75 feet fall inside the new Little Caesars Arena this month. Detroit Fire Department Deputy Commissioner Dave Fornell said the man suffered grave injuries while working at the construction site after falling from a catwalk into the bleacher area. Fornell continued, “When we arrived, he was found in cardiac arrest and they did CPR and he was transported to the Detroit Medical Center Receiving Hospital where he was declared dead.”

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA), which investigates workplace accidents, was called to the scene as many circumstances surrounding the incident, including if the worker was wearing a safety harness, weren’t immediately clear. Under Michigan law, general contractors and all sub-contractors are required to provide a reasonably safe site, to warn of hazards inherent in the work site, to hire careful employees, to coordinate job safety and to supervise compliance with safety rules.

The legal team at The Lee Steinberg Law Firm is sending our thoughts and prayers to the worker’s family.

Fall Protection Remains No. 1 Cited Violation For Construction Sites

The number one frequently cited OSHA standard violated in 2016 was fall protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501). In relation, OSHA reports that out of 4,379 worker fatalities in the private industry in calendar year 2015, 937 or 21.4 percent were in construction — that is, one in five workplace deaths last year were on construction sites.

The four leading causes of private sector worker deaths (excluding highway collisions) in the construction industry were falls, struck by object, electrocution, and caught-in/between. These are knows as the “Fatal Four” and were responsible for more than half (64.2 percent) of the construction worker deaths in 2015.

    • Falls: 364 out of 937 total deaths in construction in CY 2015 (38.8%)
    • Struck by Object: 90 (9.6%)
    • Electrocutions: 81 (8.6%)
    • Caught-in/between: 67 (7.2%)
      • This category includes construction workers killed when caught-in or compressed by equipment or objects, and struck, caught, or crushed in collapsing structure, equipment, or material.

Eliminating the Fatal Four would save 602 workers’ lives in America every year.

A failure by a general contractor to take reasonable steps to guard against certain work site dangers that create a high degree of risks to workers can make the general contractor liable for injuries that occur on the work site. A sub-contractor still has a duty to act in a manner that does not cause unreasonable dangers to other persons on a work site.

Protect Your Legal Rights

Construction workers have a right to a safe workplace. Employers must provide key safety information about the workplace, including copies of any standards, rules, regulations, requirements, and results of hazard testing. Michigan workers who feel unsafe should contact MIOSHA and should never feel unable to report and discuss violations. Retaliation by an employer or other employees for speaking up is not allowed under the law.

The Lee Steinberg Law Firm are Michigan’s construction accident experts, with a history of representing construction workers for over 40 years. Let our Michigan construction accident attorneys help you and fight for the compensation you deserve. Please call 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form so we can answer any questions you may have about Michigan construction accident law and Michigan work site accidents.