South Carolina workers who are in the construction industry likely know that theirs is one of the more dangerous occupations. Accidents are unfortunately all too common, and statistics show that 20 percent of all workplace fatalities take place on construction sites. Employers are required to provide notice to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration when accidents occur on the job, and thus the federal agency has data that breaks down the types of incidents that occur.
According to OSHA, the most prevalent accidents on construction sites relate to fall protection. More than 20,000 such mishaps have been reported to OSHA in the past four years, and it is the number one cause of fatalities in the industry. In 2014, there were nearly 900 deaths on construction sites, and approximately 360 of them related to fall-related violations. OSHA continues to provide employers with safety programs that focus on this issue. Other frequent mishaps involve defective ladders and insufficient face, eyes and head protection.
In the summer of 2016, OSHA substantially increased the fines it imposes on employers for egregious safety violations. It did so in order to keep pace with inflation, as the amounts had stayed the same for several years. The maximum penalty for a serious violation jumped from $7,000 to nearly $12,500, and the fine for willful and repeated infractions increased from $70,000 to $124,709.
Even when safety precautions are taken, accidents can and do occur. A worker who is injured on the job may be eligible to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. An attorney can often be of assistance in this regard.