According to the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, in 2023, 57 workers died due to work-related injuries in Massachusetts. Of those 57, construction accidents were the cause of 22 of those fatalities. In 2022 alone there were 81,700 recordable work-related injuries in Massachusetts.

What are the most common accidents that happen on construction sites?

  • Falls from unprotected sides, wall openings, and floor holes, improper scaffold construction, unguarded protruding steel rebars and misuse of portable ladders.
  • Struck-by incidents such as being hit by vehicles, falling/flying objects, and masonry walls.
  • Electrical incidents involving contact with power lines, lack of ground fault protection, path to ground missing or discontinuous, equipment not being used in the appropriate way, and improper use of extension and flexible cords.
  • Trenching and Excavation incidents from cave-in, incidents involving hazards from undermining sidewalks and buildings, and incidents involving overhead and underground power lines.

construction siteWhat are some of the Safety and Health Program Standards OSHA has put in place requiring employers to address and reduce construction and other work-related injuries and fatalities?

  1. Initiate and maintain a safety and health program to comply with OSHA 1926.20(b) accident prevention responsibilities.
  2. Management needs to be committed to injury and illness prevention including but not limited to providing employees with sanitary and safe work conditions, assigning injury and illness preventions responsibilities and informing employees of hazards.
  3. Hazards identification including monitoring exposure levels, ensuring regular injury and illness prevention inspections, conducting accident investigations, and making determinations regarding appropriate protective equipment.
  4. Ensure machines and tools are in safe working condition and adhere to relevant standards, perform housekeeping to remove hazards posed by scrap and debris in work areas, provide appropriate personal protective equipment, and guarantee a safe means of egress.
  5. Develop emergency response plans and fire prevention and protection programs.
  6. Provide medical services, first aid treatment and supplies, ensure availability of emergency rescue for injured employees and have phone numbers for physicians, hospitals, and ambulances posted.
  7. Provide the appropriate training for employees on safe work practices, how to recognize hazards, how to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions, the hazards of access ladders and stairways, and on confines and enclosed space entry hazards and precautions.
  8. Record injuries and fatalities as well as medical records, exposure records, and maintain appropriate documents and tags for abatement verification.

Workers have to work, but federal law, in theory, entitles them to a safe workplace.

What are workers legally entitled to do to keep themselves safe on a construction site?

  • Make sure they receive workplace safety and health training in a language they understand;
  • Work on machines that are safe;
  • Refuse to work in a situation in which they would be exposed to a hazard;
  • Receive required safety equipment, such as gloves or a harness and lifeline for falls;
  • Be protected from toxic chemicals;
  • Request an OSHA inspection, and speak to the inspector if they are concerned;
  • Report an injury or illness and get copies of their medical records;
  • Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses; and
  • View results of tests taken to find workplace hazards.

Of course, exercising these legal rights can be difficult, and as the statistics above show, workplace injuries and fatalities due to unsafe working conditions are common. For decades, the personal injury attorneys at SUGARMAN have represented workers and their families for injuries and deaths suffered in construction site and workplace accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a construction or other work-related accident, please contact us by calling 617- 542-1000, emailing, or filling out our Contact Form.