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Rolling the die with your life

Humans, it turns out, are not very good at calculating probability. Witness the success of Las Vegas or Atlantic City. Or lottery jackpots approaching half a billion dollars. It is a 1000 time more likely that you will be struck by lightning than ever win a large lottery jackpot. Or killed on a jobsite. If you work in construction, you may recognize how dangerous some jobs are. You hope someone else does, too.

A writer at Philly.com surveys some of the construction accidents that have occurred in the Philadelphia area just this summer. She lists six fatalities and 17 injured and has a picture of work being done on a store construction site, which showed a trench with three workers placing pipe for a fire hydrant. The trench is more than head height and if it were to collapse, it could easily trap all three men. 

There is no obvious protection in the trench to prevent the walls from collapsing and injuring or killing the men. OSHA requires the use protection to prevent these kinds of trenches from becoming death traps for workers.

One safety expert notes of the picture that someone is "rolling the dice" with the workers lives to save money. They do this, because most of the time, nothing bad happens. But would you drop your health insurance merely because you haven't been sick in the last couple of months.

These safety requirements are only effective if they are always followed. If are working on a construction site with safety violations, contact OSHA immediately, and if you have been injured by violations, contact an attorney to determine the compensation that may be available.

Source: Philly.com, "The cost of safety," Jane M. Von Bergen, August 8, 2013