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Fatal Milwaukee Elevator Fall Illustrates Construction Injury Risks

I tragic demolition incident in Milwaukee illustrates the confluence of risk factors that make construction among the nation's most dangerous occupations.

FOX6 News reports the man was driving a forklift when it fell seven stories down an elevator shaft. The historic building is undergoing renovations for use as a storage facility, according to media reportselevatorshaft.jpg.

Our workers' compensation attorneys in Hayward know statistically construction workers are most likely to be injured in both elevator and fall accidents. Last year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated 8 cases of employee elevator injury, six of them fatal.

But many serious and fatal accidents involving elevators occur each year. So far this year, construction elevator accidents have been reported in Fort Worth, Texas; Miami, Florida; Minot, ND; and Pittsburgh, PA.

In the Milwaukee case the Journal Times reports the worker was killed during a demolition accident when the skid steer he was operating fell more than 70 feet down the elevator shaft. Tragically, the man lost his uncle 20 years ago in a construction accident when he became trapped at the bottom of a 10-foot trench that partially collapsed.

Top Causes Wisconsin Construction Accidents

Slip and falls, ladder accidents, scaffolding accidents, and vehicle accidents (including fork lifts), are all among the top 10 causes of serious and fatal construction accidents. Falls are by far the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Falls are responsible for about 400 of the 1,000 fatal construction accidents reported each year in the United States, according to OSHA.

Top Work Safety Violations illustrate the common risks:

Fall protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501): 8,200 citations a year.

Scaffolding, general requirements, construction (29 CFR 1926.451): 3,600 citations a year.

Ladders, construction (29 CFR 1926.1053): 2,000 citations a year.

Excavation (29 CFR 1926.651): 700 citations a year.

Powered industrial trucks, general industry (29 CFR 1910.178)

Fall Protection-Training Requirements (29 CFR 1926.503)

Injury Benefits for Wisconsin Construction Workers

By all accounts the case in Milwaukee was a tragic accident. Construction and demolition are dangerous occupations and the victim was a long-time employee of a well-known Milwaukee company. Fortunately, Wisconsin law aims to protect workers who are seriously injured or killed on the job, without regard to fault of an employer or employee.

In most cases, it should not be necessary to prove liability or fault in order to collect benefits after on-the-job injury. The vast majority of construction workers should be covered by workers' compensation benefits under Wisconsin law. Workers' compensation provides for medical expenses, a portion of lost wages, and death benefits for employees who are seriously or fatally injured.

However, even these cases should be carefully reviewed by a workers' compensation lawyers in Hayward and Winter to ensure you are receiving all of the benefits to which you are entitled. Additionally, if an injury becomes more serious, or you are reinjured on the job, having an accurate legal record can be vital to obtaining future benefits.

A third-party liability claim may also be made in cases where an employee is killed due to some negligence by a party other than the victim's employer, such as a building or property owner, or another contractor on the job.

Lein Law Offices offers free and confidential appointments. Call 715-403-5045.

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