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Construction’s “Fatal Four” Remain a Threat During COVID-19 Pandemic

Even as the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has led certain businesses to cease operations or send employees home to work remotely, construction remains an essential business in South Carolina. The Greenville, SC Emergency Ordinance dated April 2, 2020 specifically allows commercial and residential projects to move forward, which is good news for employees working in new construction, emergency repairs, renovations, and related areas. As long as it’s possible to maintain social distancing, these workers can continue to make a well-earned paycheck.

The downside is that the dangers of working in construction are still very present. Employees remain at risk of accidents, especially with respect to the so-called “Fatal Four” in construction. Fortunately, your rights under state law also carry over, so you should discuss your remedies with a South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer if you were hurt. An overview may also be useful.

“Fatal Four” in South Carolina Construction: Almost every component of the work site is dangerous when you work in construction, but some types of accidents occur more frequently than others. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) calls these incidents the Fatal Four, and they’re linked to more than 58 percent of all deaths for construction workers:

  1.   Falls: Just over one-third of all fatalities in 2018 were a result of falls on the construction site, from scaffolding, ladders, platforms, and other heights.
  1.   Struck by Object: The typical construction site involves an array of moving materials, crews, equipment, and parts. It may come as no surprise to learn that 11.1 percent of accidents involve a worker being struck by an object.
  1.   Electrocution: Many tools, vehicles, and components associated with construction work operate electrically, and installing electricity is a common task. Electrocution accidents are behind approximately 8.5 percent of fatalities every year.
  1.   Caught in or Between Objects: This category covers accidents in which a worker is stuck, crushed, or compressed, many times involving collapsing structures or materials.

Your Rights as an Injured Employee: Under state law and regulations established by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission, you can recover monetary benefits as the victim of a construction site accident. Because it’s a no-fault system, you don’t need to prove that your employer was negligent in causing the incident. Instead, construction companies purchase a workers’ compensation insurance policy.

Though the specifics vary, you can recover benefits if you’re an eligible employee who was hurt in a construction site accident while performing job-related duties. Plus, you may qualify for benefits if you suffer from an occupational illness related to your job in construction.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Construction Workers: If you qualify, you may be able to recover for:

  • The medical costs for treating your injuries;
  • Wage replacement for a portion of your income while you’re unable to work;
  • Total or partial disability, on a permanent or temporary basis; and,
  • Other benefits.

Note that, in most cases, filing for workers’ comp benefits is your sole remedy under South Carolina workers’ comp laws and you cannot file a civil lawsuit against your employer. Plus, you’re not eligible to receive amounts for pain, suffering, and other non-economic damages.

Set Up a Consultation with a South Carolina Workers’ Comp Attorney

If you were hurt in a work-related accident due to the Fatal Four or any other factors, it’s important to get in touch with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer right away. There are time restrictions that affect your claim and – even more importantly – you want to receive your benefits as soon as possible. For more information on how our attorney at Powers Law, LLC can help, please contact our office in Greenwood, SC today. We can schedule a consultation to review your circumstances and get started on the claims process.

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