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Construction workers at high risk for elevator accidents

If you are one of the many Ohio construction workers whose job it is to work in, on or around elevators, you risk injury and death much more than the people who ride in elevators to get to their apartment, their office, a restaurant or other places they need or want to go to in tall buildings. Approximately 31 people die each year in an elevator accident and over 17,000 people suffer injuries.

Construction and other workers comprise over half of these fatalities, particularly elevator repairmen, installers and maintenance workers. The statistics break down as follows:

  • 56 percent of the deaths involve worker falls down elevator shafts.
  • 18 percent involve a worker becoming caught between or in the elevator’s moving components.
  • 16 percent involve the elevator or its counterweights striking the worker.

While elevator constructors and mechanics account for one-third of all workplace elevator fatalities, you also are at risk if your job requires you to clean elevator shafts, work on construction projects near open shafts or rescue and/or evacuate people caught in a stuck elevator.

Alarming statistics

In a recent 17-year period, 263 workers died in an elevator accident. Of these, 110 were installing or repairing the elevator, 107 were working near the elevator and 46 were working in the elevator car or shaft. Nearly three-fourths of the workers were elevator constructors; i.e., elevator installers and repairers. The remaining 25 percent were supervisors, electricians, engineers and others who were part of the repair and/or installation team.

Of the 107 workers killed while working near an elevator, the overwhelming majority were construction workers, not elevator constructors per se. The deaths split almost evenly between construction workers working near an unguarded or improperly guarded elevator shaft and those performing the following tasks:

  • Cleaning the elevator shaft
  • Fixing a stuck or stalled elevator
  • Retrieving objects that had fallen into the shaft
  • Working on a platform over the shaft that collapsed

If you suffer a workplace elevator accident, the results could be catastrophic. At best, you likely will incur massive medical expenses; at worst, you could have a permanent disability that prevents you from working. Your best strategy is to contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney experienced in construction accidents. (S)he can assess your situation, determine who is at fault for your accident, and get you the compensation you deserve.

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