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Construction projects -- and injuries -- are on the rise

More than 20 percent of all workplace deaths that occur in the private sector are linked to the construction industry. Indeed, nearly 1,000 construction workers die on the job each year. In addition, there are tens of thousands of annual injuries, many of them permanently disabling.

Most contractors and laborers know this already - if not the hard data, then at least that the industry is unusually dangerous. The nature of the job requires dealing with heavy machinery (which often breaks down), scaling great heights, driving unwieldy trucks, working around live electrical wiring, and other everyday perils. 

As goes the nation, so goes North Carolina

North Carolina sees a slightly above-average number of construction worker deaths each year, accounting for nearly four percent of the entire nation's toll. This isn't so surprising, either. A number of cities and towns throughout the state are experiencing population - and construction - booms. Charlotte, for example, saw the number of its residents swell by 600,000 between 2000 and 2014; it expects an additional increase of 800,000 by 2030. Likewise, Gastonia's population increased by 8 percent between 2000 and 2010, and has increased an additional 5 percent since.

To accommodate such rapid growth, condominium construction is expanding rapidly throughout the region. (Too rapidly, by some peoples' measures.) In addition, both government entities and private companies are funding infrastructure projects to ensure municipalities' ongoing viability. But when the number of construction projects rises, so too do the number of worker injuries and deaths. 

Fast facts about construction accidents 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most common types of construction accidents that lead to death in North Carolina were slips and falls, followed closely by transportation incidents. Men account for 95 percent of the victims in the state, and 60 percent of victims are between 25 and 54 years of age - in the prime, that is, of their career.

What can be done?

Victims and their families do have recourse to obtain financial relief for medical bills, lost wages, and related concerns. Specifically, by working with a lawyer to file a workers' compensation claim, many are able to secure the funding they need to recuperate and move on with their day-to-day lives. In some scenarios, attorneys are able to recover additional compensation through third-party personal injury filings, thereby maximizing the compensation individuals receive.

While such legal proceedings cannot replace a lost loved one, or undo all the harm that some accidents inflict, they nevertheless can go a long way toward providing some comfort.

Is the industry getting safer?

Despite the boom in growth, construction fatalities have leveled off in recent years, and even show signs of decreasing. In large part this owes to education initiatives and tighter safety standards spreading throughout the industry.

 

Nevertheless, accidents do happen, and it is best to have some basis of knowledge regarding how to prepare for them. 

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