Certain Cook County occupations have a built-in risk factor. Nearly one in five of over 3,900 fatal workplace accidents in 2012 occurred in the construction industry, according to the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. More than half of the fatal injuries among construction workers had one of four causes – falls, employees caught in between objects, electrocution and injuries caused by workers getting hit by objects.
The construction field isn't the only industry where deaths like these happen, however. A Chicago dancer recently was on a break during a DanceWorks rehearsal on the city's Northwest Side. The 22-year-old man apparently was gripping the top part of a metal acrobatic ring, when the device started to move. The heavy ring struck the dancer's head as he fell. The Cook County Medical Examiner's office determined that blunt force trauma was the reason for the dancer's accidental death.
A death like this may be rare among stage performers, but "struck-by" injuries are common in construction. Wall collapses may trap workers at demolition sites. Unstable construction equipment can topple over. Construction supplies or tools perched in high places may fall on workers below.
Falling, rolling or flying objects can cause painful injuries, long recoveries and often death. An injured worker could lose earnings for weeks or months, endure one or more corrective surgeries and suffer financial losses, like overwhelming medical bills. Liability lawsuits allow victims of workplace accidents to recover compensation for accident-related expenses, pain and suffering and mental distress. Employers must provide the most secure work environment possible for employees, create and update safety plans and train employees to work safely.
Property owners also may be held accountable for injuries or deaths on their premises. Homeowners and businesses owe property visitors, including employees, a duty of care, a "reasonable" cushion of protection from known hazards. A liability attorney can help plaintiffs receive settlements or damage awards from all negligent parties.
Source: Chicago Sun-Times, "DanceWorks Chicago dancer’s death during rehearsal ruled accidental" Jordan Owen, Jan. 14, 2014