It should come as no surprise that construction sites are dangerous. Workers and people passing by the location are at risk for injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 11.4 million people were employed in construction jobs in 2019. Thousands of these workers suffer injuries every year on the job. Numerous types of construction accidents can lead to injuries, but some are more common than others. Here is a look at the top 10 common construction accidents across the country.
The CDC statistics show that falls are the leading cause of construction-related deaths. Falls represent more than one in three (36.4%) of the total industry fatalities. In 2019, 401 of the 991 construction fatalities were falls to a lower level. Workers are often climbing ladders or working off the ground on multi-story projects, putting them at greater risk for a fall.
Workers should always be alert and pay close attention to their surroundings, such as ladders, platforms, scaffolding, etc. Contractors can also keep workers safe by installing and maintaining perimeter protections and providing fall-arrest equipment. All floor openings should be covered, secured, and clearly marked.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also lists falls as one of their top four types of construction accidents that lead to death.
Construction workers and passersby can be struck by falling objects, such as equipment, building beams, or scaffolding. Workers can reduce the risk of struck-by accidents by not positioning themselves between a moving and fixed object.
Workers could also be struck by a moving vehicle or other equipment, which is why it’s crucial to wear high-visibility clothing when working around cars and other construction machines. Struck-by accidents represent one of OSHA’s top four construction fatalities.
Caught-In and Caught-Between Accidents
The third common type of construction accident that results in the most fatalities is the caught-in and caught-between category. Materials or equipment don’t have to fall and strike a construction worker directly to cause death. Instead, workers may find themselves, for example, trapped between a wall and building materials or equipment. These accidents can leave a worker struggling to breathe and cutting off their oxygen intake. Other injuries can include crushed limbs.
Many construction sites require digging trenches or other land excavations. That can result in the surrounding ground becoming unstable, causing the ground to collapse around the trench. If a worker is in the trench when it collapses, they could be trapped or buried alive. Workers should never enter an unprotected trench that is five feet or deeper without some type of adequate protective system in place.
Electrocution rounds out OSHA’s top four fatal types of construction accidents. Because construction sites are a constant work in process, workers deal with unfinished electrical systems, exposed wiring, power lines, portable electric tools, and more. Workers should not operate portable electric tools unless they are double insulated or grounded.
Construction workers can help prevent electrocutions by always identifying where the utilities are before working. Try always to maintain a safe distance from power lines.
Slip and Falls
Falls of any type are common risks of any job, but they are especially prevalent at construction sites. It’s very easy for a worker to trip over debris or equipment on the floor. Common injuries from a slip and fall include sprains, strains, lacerations, contusions, and broken bones. Spinal injuries and traumatic brain injuries are also a possibility in severe slip and fall accidents.
Burns and Explosions
Exposed wires may not electrocute someone, but they could still spark an explosion or pose other threats to construction workers. Other risks for explosions and burns can come from gas leaks. Any type of explosion can be deadly or leave a worker with catastrophic burns.
Overexertion and Repetitive Stress Injuries
Construction is a very physical job and one that typically requires a lot of repetitive motion. These injuries may not necessarily trace back to a single event but can develop over time in many cases. Someone who does the same job every day for years is at risk for repetitive stress injuries.
Overexertion injuries are common construction accidents as workers may be lifting heavy items or pushing themselves too hard. However, it can also lead to injuries such as dehydration due to working long hours in grueling elements. A worker could faint or even suffer a stroke.
Construction sites have lots of machinery and equipment that present numerous hazards. If someone operates a forklift without proper training and supervision, they can injure themselves as well as other workers. Hoists and cranes are dangerous when operators lack proper training or there is a malfunction. Even small power tools such as a nail gun can pose a threat.
If a construction site is near a busy road or highway, there are a lot of vehicles passing by. Getting hit by a passing vehicle is one of the most common types of construction accidents. Workers can be distracted by their job, or drivers are not paying attention, especially later in the day.
Co-workers, visiting sub-contractors, or other visitors could also hit a worker with their vehicle. If the worker isn’t expecting a vehicle to be driving onto the lot, they’re probably not on the watch for it. Construction sites are also noisy places, so they may not hear the vehicle either.
Exposure to Toxins and Dangerous Chemicals
Workers face exposure to numerous chemicals and toxins that can result in various respiratory problems and long-term illnesses. If the construction site involves demolition or remodels work, there could be undisclosed asbestos or other hazardous materials.
Contact a Construction Site Accident Lawyer
Construction accidents can be deadly. If you or someone you love was injured on the job or passing by a construction site, you could have the legal right to bring an injury claim. However, these are also typically complex cases to pursue, which is why you want an experienced construction site accident attorney on your side.
When you hire Henderson Law to represent you, you’re getting the benefit of more than 20 years of experience with personal injury claims. We have recovered more than ten million dollars on behalf of our clients. We understand the complex nature of these claims. Don’t attempt to handle it on your own; let us assist you. Contact Henderson Law today to schedule an initial consultation.