Injuries and Deaths on Dangerous Work Sites
Two workers have died at construction sites on the University of Oklahoma campus at Norman in a little over a year, with the latest victim losing his life just as the school year started. In that accident, the construction worker fell to his death from the fifth floor, with at least one witness watching.
This witness reported that the boards over scaffolding on which the worker stood slipped out from underneath, leading him to plummet to the ground, his body striking steel beams as he fell. The witness was shocked that the worker wore no safety harness as he stood on what appeared to him to be a high and flimsy structure. Another Oklahoma man died a month earlier from head injuries sustained in a fall at a construction site in Minnesota.
Who’s at risk?
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there were more than 4,300 fatal occupational injuries last year, which represents a slight decrease from the previous year’s numbers and reflects a larger trend of declining fatalities. But these statistics also point to troubling trends. Statistics showed that fatal work injuries are higher among African-American and Asian workers, and that such injuries doubled in workers under the age of 16.
Slack on safety standards?
While Oklahoma work sites may be safer than those in neighboring Texas, which has an abysmal safety record according to a new report, there are still major safety issues. In one recent case, two workers were killed when a 60-year-old boiler that one had been attempting to light exploded. Their employer had refused to fix the boiler, despite its causing problems for years. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the company close to $300,000 for the incident, which won’t bring comfort to the families the two slain workers left behind.
When workplace accidents harm or kill employees, they or their loved ones deserve compensation, which requires a solid legal team to fight every step of the way.