During a typical Atlanta summer, you’d expect construction projects on every other corner, cranes dotting the skyline and closed roads rerouting you on gridlocked detours. While this summer may be far from typical, construction projects are, for the most part, still moving ahead. Homes, roads and even retail spaces are in the works across the city and beyond.
Unfortunately, construction projects do carry risks for workers, no matter the season and even with project shifts due to the pandemic. Falls, heavy equipment injuries and, depending on the job, automobile strikes are always concerns for those working on construction sites.
What projects are in the works?
The pandemic has certainly changed aspects of the construction industry, pausing some projects while accelerating others, like Piedmont Hospital’s Marcus Tower, which opened four months early to accommodate extra patients.
Now, with low interest rates and a steady demand for homes, new condo, townhouse and apartment projects are especially likely to keep advancing, according to Atlanta Intown Paper.
Work zone dangers
For many construction workers maintaining Georgia’s roads, the major on-the-job risk comes from speeding vehicles. Georgia, like most states, is quite strict regarding speeding fines in highway work zones. Still, the statistics are sobering. In 2019, there were 26,039 crashes in Georgia work zones, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation. Thirty-eight people lost their lives, down from 52 in 2018.
GDOT’s current tactic to help protect workers at road job sites is to remind the larger driving public that everyone faces an increased risk while in a work zone. In fact, drivers and passengers are more likely to die in work zone crashes, like rear-end crashes and road departures. Workers in these areas face potentially devastating injuries due to driver distraction, high speeds and driver impairment.
Workers are also in danger of being struck by heavy machinery on a highway work site. Workers should be provided with good lighting, barricades, warning signs and signals, as well as safety apparel that enhances visibility. It’s also important to have worksite cell phone protocols and visual contact protocols regarding when it’s safe to back up heavy machinery.
Georgia construction industry statistics
In Georgia, the private construction industry sector is among the most dangerous, accounting for 31 of the 186 fatalities in Georgia in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Just this winter, before the pandemic slowed many projects, a construction worker fell while working on the I-285/GA 400 interchange, passing away from his injuries. It was the second fatal fall at the project in months, leading OSHA to fine the construction company $170,000.
Your Georgia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
A Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer can help you better understand the system, guide your conversations with the insurance company and ensure you have all the documentation you need to make a strong case. The Law Offices of Laura Lanzisera can explain Georgia’s workers’ compensation system and the benefits available for your injury or disability. Contact our office today for a free consultation.