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A thirty-nine-year-old Canton man died on September 14 while working on a demolition project in Troy. The man, part of a crew removing an in-ground pool, was using a gas-powered saw to cut through a metal portion of the pool.
When the saw became stuck, the worker pulled on it. The saw reportedly kicked back and struck him. A neighbor attempted to help the man, but he was injured too severely and passed away before additional help arrived.
The Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office has already ruled the death an accident, but because it occurred on a construction site, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) is required to investigate. If that inquiry finds any safety violations, it could lead to fines or additional action against the company that employed the worker.
According to MIOSHA’s data, this was the twenty-first on-the-job fatality requiring investigation in Michigan so far this year. Those numbers don’t include some categories of accidents, such as workers killed in vehicle crashes while on the job (which is often a top cause of worker deaths). In 2015, the latest year with full reporting available, 134 total workplace deaths were reported for Michigan.
Accidents on the job are far more common than many people realize. More than 2.9 million American workers were injured or contracted an illness on the job in 2015. Each of those cases caused a worker to miss at least one day of work, and some of the injuries were much more serious.
On average, more than a dozen people in the US are killed every day while going about their jobs. According to federal data, the construction trades continue to be the most dangerous, accounting for more than 20 percent of all workplace fatalities.
This particular accident was categorized as “struck by object.” In 2015, that type of accident alone cost ninety workers in construction-related jobs their lives.
Almost every workplace injury is preventable. When something goes wrong, it’s usually the result of unsafe work practices or a related issue, such as inadequate training of employees in the safe operation of the equipment they need to use. This can unfortunately lead to workers injuring themselves or others.
Workers compensation insurance offers coverage for many workplace injuries and prevents many claims. However, there are exceptions when an injured employee (or the survivors of someone killed on the job) may be able to sue the employer or a third party. If you think you have a claim, it’s important to discuss your case with an experienced construction accident lawyer.