Downtown Des Moines is in the midst of a transformation. A development boom has been reshaping the area, with millions of dollars flowing into new construction. With more development comes increased danger for workers who sometimes fail or are unable to take basic steps to prevent falls or other workplace injuries. Many construction workplace accidents resulting in injury or death across the nation occur when workers do not use safety equipment such as harnesses or helmets as required by law. Oftentimes, it is because supervision at construction sites is lacking and many projects place a premium on speed over safety.
According to a CDC study, some construction workers are at higher risk than others for injury. Hispanic immigrant workers, young workers, and small business employees have each been shown to be at increased risk for occupational injury and illness relative to other construction workers. These groups are particularly vulnerable due to lack of experience, the temporary nature of the work, language barriers and lack of safety programs or government oversight within smaller companies.
Last summer, two Iowa workers were killed at an Ames construction site after falling two stories from scaffolding. A witness told police the workers were wearing safety harnesses, but unfortunately, they were not tied to the safety ropes on the scaffolding. Last month, another construction worker was killed in a trench collapse when safety equipment to prevent such an accident was available on site, but not utilized. In retrospect, these tragedies may have been prevented if safety procedures were implemented and supervision was in place.
As Des Moines realizes growth and improvements, hopefully safety will be a top priority – families are counting on it. If you or a family member has been injured on the job, contact the workers’ compensation and personal injury law offices of Stoltze & Stoltze PLC for help. We offer experienced legal guidance to Iowans and are committed to protecting your rights and interests. We will work tirelessly to get the compensation you need when you have been injured at work.