Seasonal work like construction is picking up as the Wisconsin spring slowly arrives. Road work, sidewalk and median maintenance, and new building construction will soon be underway throughout the area.
Given the physical nature of the job and the heavy machinery used, construction is one of the state's most dangerous jobs. Nationwide statistics highlight this danger all too well. In 2016, 991 private industry construction workers died on the job--21.1 percent of total workplace fatalities in the country that year (the most recent year with statistics available). Put in simpler terms, one of every five workplace deaths was from a construction accident.
The most common accidents
Falls, being struck by an object, electrocution, and being caught in or between surfaces are the leading causes of fatality, given the macabre label of "Construction's Fatal Four" by OSHA. These accident types caused 63.7 percent of the 991 deaths in 2016.
Slips, trips, and falls are especially a concern as many construction workers are required to work on scaffolding, ladders and at high elevations. OSHA is launching the Stand-Down to Prevent Falls awareness campaign running May 7-11 to emphasize workplace safety specific to falling accidents and injuries.
When a worker dies on the job, certain surviving family members are eligible for death benefits under the Wisconsin worker's compensation law. Generally, a death benefit--equal to four times the worker's annual wage--is available for surviving dependents under the law. Usually, that is a spouse or children under the age of 18. If you suffered a tragedy involving a family member's death on the job, talking to a worker's compensation attorney can help determine whether a death benefit claim exists.
Accidents, injuries and treatment
No fatalities should ever occur in the workplace, but injuries are a fact of life in labor-intensive professions, including construction. While the goal is to avoid accidents, they do happen. Muscle strain, broken bones, lacerations, dehydration and overexposure are all common concerns for construction workers across most specialties.
If you are injured at work, you're eligible for workers' compensation in Wisconsin. While you may already be familiar with the concept, an attorney can help you to understand the full extent of coverage available so you'll get the best medical care possible and have the best chance at recovery before you return to work. Whether you are unsure about medical documentation, how to get the appropriate compensation for your recovery or if you need help appealing a denied claim, a workers' compensation attorney can help you get the treatment you deserve for working one of the country's most dangerous jobs.