May 2023

Common Causes of Demolition Accidents

Demolition worker using a jackhammer to drill into wall on a construction site.

Demolition accidents, especially at construction sites, often result in serious workplace injuries or fatalities. But why do these accidents happen? Just how common are demolition accidents? And what can workers and demolition companies do to prevent injuries?

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) recently offered numerous suggestions for preventing demolition accidents. And if one does occur, it’s critical that injured demolition workers talk to a lawyer right away to learn more about their legal rights and options.

In many cases, injured workers are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, especially in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

How common are demolition accidents?

Many workplace accidents occur at construction sites, including demolition accidents. Each year on average, more than 200,000 construction workers nationwide get hurt on the job, according to workplace accident data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). These accidents regularly result in over 80,000 construction workers missing work and over 1,000 construction accident fatalities.

And when it comes to demolition and extraction work, as it’s sometimes called, more than 160 workers for every 10,000 demolition workers are hurt on the job while performing demolition-related work each year, according to BLS statistics.

Why do demolition accidents happen?

  • Demolition workers are struck by falling debris, including roofing materials and bricks.
  • Demolition workers are crushed in a building collapse.
  • A worker falls from a height while on a rooftop or scaffolding.
  • A worker sustains a burn injury due to a fire.
  • Demolition workers suffer hearing loss due to loud equipment and power tools used on the job site.
  • Demolition workers are injured in accidents involving backhoes and other heavy machinery.
  • A worker is injured in an explosion.
  • A worker is electrocuted in an accident involving power tools, power lines, or wiring.
  • Demolition workers slip and fall on the job site due to unsafe working conditions or negligence by a third party (e.g., a subcontractor).

Steps to take to prevent demolition accidents

OSHA breaks down demolition safety into three areas–planning, providing protection, and properly training workers. Specific demolition safety tips include:

  • Locate any potential hazards before beginning demolition work. This includes inspecting the demolition site for nearby power lines, water lines, and other potential hazards.
  • Create a plan in the event of an emergency. This includes an evacuation plan and who to notify in the event of a demolition accident.
  • Provide demolition workers with safety equipment. This includes hard hats, hearing protection, protective eyewear, respirators, gloves, foot protection, and Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS).
  • Train demolition workers on how to safely remove debris. Such safety training is mandated for all demolition workers nationwide, according to OSHA Public Law 91-596.

“Employers must instruct employees how to recognize and avoid or remove hazards that may cause an injury or illness based on their assigned duties,” OSHA states on its demolition safety page.

Injured in a demolition accident? Talk to an experienced workers’ comp attorney.

Demolition accidents in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and other states often become complicated legal cases. Even if you are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits after your workplace accident, getting the benefits your rightfully deserve can often be very difficult.

This is why injured demolition workers should meet with a workers’ compensation lawyer licensed to practice law in their state. The experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl know exactly what to do. We have years of experience handling workers’ compensation claims in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and can help you navigate the process from start to finish.

Put your trust in a law firm that puts your needs first. Contact us and schedule a free consultation with a workers’ compensation attorney focused on helping you get the benefits you deserve. We can answer your questions and explain your potential legal options.

Comments are closed.