Construction work one of the 10 deadliest jobs in America

15303861_sSerious accidents can happen in any job, but for people in Las Vegas, Nevada, who work in construction, the risk is especially high. Construction accidents were responsible for nearly one-fifth of private industry fatalities in 2012, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics named construction as one of the 10 deadliest jobs in the country.

Unique industry risks 

Many of the risks construction workers face arise due to poor practices or unsafe work environments. Among OSHA’s 10 most frequently cited workplace safety violations, 3 are specific to the construction industry: fall protection, scaffolding and ladders. According to OSHA, as many as 437 construction fatalities could be prevented every year if the following common accident causes were eliminated:

  • Falls
  • Struck-by incidents
  • Electrocution
  • Caught-between incidents 

Employers can address these risk areas by increasing employee training, revising current best practices and investing in better equipment. When employers do not eliminate these hazards and accidents result, injured workers may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. In the case of a fatal workplace injury, the worker’s surviving family members may be entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits.

Compensation after fatal accidents

Workers’ compensation laws in Nevada are no-fault, so the circumstances of workplace accidents do not affect benefit awards. However, to obtain death benefits, surviving family members must prove the worker’s death was directly caused by the workplace accident. A statement from the treating physician can establish a causal relationship between the injury and fatality.

In Nevada, workers’ compensation death benefits cover burial costs up to $10,000. Surviving family members are also entitled to monthly payments equal to two-thirds of the deceased individual’s income. If the employee left behind a spouse, these income payments persist for the duration of the spouse’s life. If the employee had minor children, those children are entitled to receive the same benefit amount until they turn 18, even if the surviving spouse passes away.

In some cases, third parties may be liable for construction accidents. For instance, defective machinery could cause a fatal injury. In this case, the family members of an employee or contractor could seek compensation from the manufacturer through a product liability lawsuit. In this kind of suit, the worker’s conduct and potential fault in the accident would be considered. Determining liability in such cases can be difficult, which is why the family members of fatally injured workers can benefit from seeking legal counsel after the incident.