- 19-year-old Sarah Wong and 71-year-old Alan Justad were sitting in their cars in traffic.
- Nine stories over their heads, ironworkers Andrew Yoder, 31, and Travis Corbet, 33, were dismantling a crane.
- All four were killed when the crane collapsed. Another four people on the street were injured.
The deadly Seattle disaster is a stark reminder of the dangers of height-related work on buildings, bridges, cell towers, raised walkways and other structures.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports falling objects or equipment caused 45,940 injuries in 2017, or 5.2 percent of all workplace injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says dropped objects are the third-leading cause of construction injuries.
EHS Today, a workplace safety website, cites three ways to minimize the chances of such tragedies:
- Employers must follow best practices by adopting the “American National Standard for Dropped Object
- Prevention Solutions” developed by the International Safety Equipment Association. Similarly, OSHA
- must recognize the report as a best practice. Also, ISEA – with the National Association of Tower
- Erectors and the Associated General Contractors of America – has launched SafetyAtHeights.org, an educational website.
Employers must drop the noxious belief known as “acceptable risk.” They should value worker safety
over the inhumane view that some injuries – and even deaths – are part of doing business. Workers
should be encouraged to speak up about safety issues.
Everyone – employers, workers and the general public – needs to recognize and accept responsibility for
how their actions impact their own safety and the safety of people around them.
SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION, EVEN IF IT SEEMS MINOR
As the Seattle catastrophe illustrates, tragedy can strike both construction workers and innocent bystanders. In either instance, you may be severely injured, perhaps crippled for life. You are unable to provide for your family as both regular bills and medical expenses pile up. In the worst cases, your family has lost a loved one, putting you under seemingly unbearable mental and emotional stress.
The construction company is unlikely to accept responsibility, instead hiding behind its lawyers and an insurance company whose only interest is paying you as little as possible for your pain and suffering.
If you need a worker’s compensation lawyer in northern Illinois, Schweickert & Ganassin, LLP will fight tirelessly for your rights. Our attorneys have more than 120 years of combined experience with workers’ compensation and injury cases.
We understand the complexities of both government bureaucracy and the legal system. We understand you need help – and an aggressive, compassionate legal advocate. Contact us today for a free consultation.