Lake County, Illinois Legal Blog

The construction industry’s “Fatal Four”

| Oct 27, 2020 | Workers' Compensation |

Practitioners in the construction industry in Illinois no doubt value the personal freedom that such work offers. The constantly changing work environment is likely very appealing to them. Yet the benefits that environment offers also makes this particular service sector one of the most dangerous.

Those who work in a traditional office setting typically do not face extreme dangers from the equipment they use (or the areas they work in). The same does not hold true for construction workers. It is for this reason that many of the reported workplace fatalities in the U.S. occur in the construction industry.

Common causes of construction-site fatalities

Indeed, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the construction service sector accounts for over 21% of all workplace fatalities annually. Almost 60% of those fatalities are due to the same four causes. Dubbed “the Fatal Four,” these include:

  • Falls from heights
  • Falling objects
  • Electrocution incidents
  • Crush injuries

Fatalities attributed to crush injuries are those accidents where a worker becomes caught in machinery or in-between worksurfaces or heavy equipment.

Workers’ compensation death benefits

The primary purpose of workers’ compensation benefits is to help cover the costs associated with treatment and recuperation required following a workplace accident. One might think such benefits are not available when such an accident results in a fatality. Yet per the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, dependants of one killed in a construction accident may qualify for survivor benefits. Such dependants include one’s spouse, minor children, and/or dependant parents. These benefits amount to 66 2/3% of the decedent’s average weekly wage for the 52 weeks prior to their injury. Survivor benefits also allow for $4,200 to cover the decedent’s burial expenses.