As most in California already know, workers’ compensation benefits are meant to provide financial assistance to those who have been injured on the job. Those working in industries where employee injuries are common should thus have an understanding of how to secure such benefits if and when they are needed. One such industry is construction, which (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has 10.3 million practitioners as of 2016. The popularity of this profession remains high even though it is routinely ranked amongst the most dangerous.

Indeed, severe injuries happen often enough in the construction industry that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has compiled enough information to identify a handful of causes determined to be the most common. Dubbed “the Fatal Four,” these include:

  • Falls
  • Being struck by objects
  • Electrocutions
  • Crush injuries

In this particular context, “crush injuries” refer to those sustained by workers who become caught in or between equipment, working surfaces or materials.

One might assume that knowing the most common causes of workplace fatalities in their industry would prompt construction employers to provide added safeguards for their employees against these hazards. Yet violations related to the Fatal Four are often among the most common found by OSHA representatives.

Should a construction employee be killed while on the job, their employer’s workers’ compensation provider should extend a death benefit to their surviving family members (provided the employee’s death was work-related). Such a benefit should help to cover the decedent’s funeral and burial costs and should provide their family with compensation (typically a percentage of the employee’s salary) for a designated time period following their death.