Tragic Chicago-Area Construction Worker Death Highlights On-the-Job Dangers

The recent death of 43-year-old Kenneth Puplava at a Glenview jobsite reminds Illinois residents of the dangers facing workers at residential and commercial construction sites. Mr. Puplava's fatal injuries were sustained when he was struck by a metal beam being placed onto Glenbrook Hospital's new medical office building.

Unfortunately, these types of construction accidents are all-too-common at Illinois and Wisconsin job sites. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction work has one of the highest rates of fatal injuries among major American industries.

Given the prevalence of heavy equipment, power tools, scaffolds, ladders, trenches, motorized vehicles, weighty materials and newly constructed walls on construction sites, it is no wonder that they are dangerous places. A wide range of injuries are seen on construction sites, such as:

  • Falls from ladders, scaffolds or building framework
  • Heavy equipment-related injuries like crush injuries caused by cranes or bulldozers
  • Injuries and deaths caused by falling tools, beams or concrete blocks/bricks
  • Power tool-related injuries and deaths
  • Trench or wall collapses
  • Vehicle accidents
  • Electrocution
  • Exposure to hazardous/toxic chemicals

While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires annual safety education for all large construction companies (those with at least 20 full-time employees), many construction companies employ primarily part-time or seasonal workers, thus skirting the mandatory safety course requirement. Meanwhile, construction workplace accidents continue to occur at an alarming rate, accounting for about one-third of all workplace fatalities.

Clearly, industry efforts to improve safety at construction sites are not sufficient. Until construction companies and trade associations make stronger commitments to safety, people working on construction sites remain at an unacceptably high risk of serious injury or death. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a construction site accident, speak with an experienced attorney in your area for more information about your legal rights and options.