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Construction workers and the high risk of elevator accidents

As a Colorado construction worker, your job often may require you to work in, on or around elevators. If so, you are at far higher risk of injury or death than members of the general public whose elevator rides are a normal part of life.

More than 17,000 people receive injuries in an elevator accident each year, and 31 people die. Over half of these fatalities are construction and other workers, many of them elevator installers, maintenance workers and repairmen. In fact, elevator constructors, i.e., installers and repairers, and mechanics represent one-third of all workplace elevator fatalities. You likewise face a high risk of death if your job requires you to clean elevator shafts, work on projects close to open shafts or help rescue people stuck in an elevator.

Alarming statistics

The vast majority of worker elevator fatalities result from the following:

  • Falling down the elevator shaft – 56 percent
  • Getting caught in or between the elevator’s moving parts – 18 percent
  • The elevator’s counterweights striking a worker – 16 percent

Elevator accidents claimed the lives of 263 workers in a recent 17-year period. Installers and repairmen represented 110 of them; workers performing jobs near the elevator represented 107 of them; and workers performing jobs in the elevator car or shaft represented 46 of them.

Construction workers like you represented the vast majority of the 107 people killed while working near the elevator. At the time of their deaths, roughly half were working near an unguarded or improperly guarded elevator shaft while the other half were performing such tasks as the following:

  • Fixing an elevator that had stalled or become stuck
  • Cleaning the shaft
  • Attempting to retrieve an object that fell into the shaft
  • Working on an above-shaft platform that collapsed

It goes without saying that an elevator accident can and often does result in catastrophic injuries and/or death. Considering the height involved, you could face extraordinary medical costs if injured and the possibility of permanent disability. Consequently, your best strategy may be to file a lawsuit against that negligent person to seek the compensation you deserve.