What Are the Most Common Causes of Construction Accidents, and How to Prevent Them

What Are the Most Common Causes of Construction Accidents, and How to Prevent ThemAccording to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction deaths due to falls, slips, and trips increased by 5.9 percent in 2021. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 workplace deaths occurred in the construction industry. Construction accidents are common and can leave you severely injured. However, many construction accidents are preventable with proper safety protocols and procedures. This article discusses the four most common construction accident causes and safety protocols for preventing construction site accidents. 

4 Common Construction Accident Causes

There are many potential causes of a construction accident, and the precise cause typically depends on several factors, including the type of work being done, the site itself, and the parties involved. However, certain types of accidents occur frequently on construction sites.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) big four construction accident causes are as follows. 


One of the most common types of construction accidents is falls. Falls are commonly caused by the failure to properly mark and identify hazards, failure to use or misuse safety gear and equipment, and lack of implemented safety protocols. According to OSHA, falls are the leading cause of death on construction sites. Falls are generally defined as any injury sustained from dropping from a higher height to a level below. 

Examples of construction site falls include but are not limited to:

  • Falling from a roof,
  • Falling through the floor,
  • Slipping on material,
  • Scaffolding collapses because of improper setup or exceeding weight limits,
  • Improper ladder use, and
  • Falling down stairs without guardrails.

Even what might appear to be a relatively minor fall can result in severe injuries. Falls can have catastrophic consequences, including injuries and even death. 

Caught-In or Caught-Between Accidents

Although falls are common in the construction industry, they can plague almost anyone in any aspect of life. Other construction accidents, such as caught-in or caught-between incidents, are unique to the industry. These occur when a worker is caught between two objects or machines or when a limb, body part, or clothing is caught in a moving machine. As you can imagine, these construction injuries are some of the most devastating. They often end in a crushed body part, amputation, disfigurement, or even death. The physical landscape of a construction site, and all of the heavy machinery that goes with it, make caught-in and caught-between injuries prominent. 

Examples of caught-in or caught-between accidents include being:

  • Crushed between two vehicles or construction trucks;
  • Crushed between a vehicle and a wall;
  • Caught in a trench collapse;
  • Caught in power tools and machines such as grinders, saws, drills, and conveyor belts;
  • Crushed under a vehicle or machine; and
  • Crushed under a wall, block, or any heavy object.

Caught in and caught between accidents can have immediate and disastrous consequences. 

Struck-By Injuries

Struck-by injuries are precisely as they sound and occur when a moving object strikes an individual. These injuries occur by a forceful impact and are some of the most preventable types of construction site accidents.  

Examples of struck-by injuries include being struck by the following:

  • A moving vehicle or machine,
  • A falling object,
  • Swinging equipment (e.g., a swinging crane), and
  • Projectiles (e.g., nails from a nail gun, flying shrapnel, or other material).

Many preventable struck-by injuries usually occur due to ignored safety protocols, lack of training, and nonuse of safety gear. 


OSHA defines electrocution as occurring when an electrical current passes over or through a person’s body, resulting in severe injury or death. Electrical hazards typically happen because of unsecured and unsafe electrical currents, worker miscommunication, and a lack of situational awareness. Construction sites often have exposed electrical wire and electrical hazards during varying stages of installation, repair, and completion. Examples of electrocutions include:

  • Turning the power on prematurely,
  • Crossed or improperly installed wires,
  • Coming into contact with live or exposed wires, and
  • Metal machinery or ladders making contact with power lines or electrical wires.

Electrocutions are often fatal, and their prevention should be paramount on any worksite. 

Other Common Construction Industry Accidents

In addition to the top four most common construction site accidents, a handful of other common worksite accidents are worth mentioning. 

These include:

  • Work vehicle accidents (e.g., forklift, crane, backhoe, pickup trucks, etc.);
  • Hand and power tool accidents, and
  • Exposure to hazardous materials.

No matter the cause of a construction accident, the victim and their family deserve compensation and justice for what they have endured.

Construction Accident Prevention

Workplace safety in construction should be the most critical aspect of any worksite. But the truth is accidents happen, and they can happen even with the most rigid safety protocols in place. When they do occur, the parties responsible for failing to implement and require safety procedures should be held accountable. 

Construction companies, employers, workers, and manufacturers all may be responsible for following safety procedures that could have prevented a tragedy. Here’s a list of three ways to prevent common construction site accidents.

Develop and Deploy a Safety Plan

Every construction site is unique and will have risks and hazards associated with the work being done. Employers must create a safety plan tailored to the needs and risks of the job site. The plan should include information about the proper use of safety gear, the safe handling of tools and machinery, measures for safety inspections, and a general understanding of workplace safety standards. A detailed safety plan should also spell out what to do in an emergency and provide workers with the means for reporting safety violations and concerns. 

Adequate Training

One of the most essential tools for preventing a construction accident tragedy is to provide and participate in adequate training. Construction companies and employers must provide their workers with good training on how to safely operate machinery, handle materials, and perform their job duties. Workers should actively participate in any provided training and take it seriously to avoid an accident later. 

Additionally, employers must provide employees with the proper safety equipment and ensure the equipment is well-maintained and replaced when necessary.

Job Site Inspections 

Job site inspections, especially by an outside party such as OSHA, are integral to a safe work site. OSHA inspectors are trained in construction safety and can provide an unbiased safety check to identify hazards and unsafe working conditions. 

Employers and employees alike must work safely. Construction sites are inherently dangerous, but following specific rules, regulations, and safety protocols can significantly decrease the likelihood of an accident. 

Henderson Law: Your Trusted Construction Accident Law Firm

Construction accidents can be catastrophic, and the consequences can wreak havoc on the lives of you and your closest loved ones. For more than 20 years, Henderson Law has been helping victims of construction accidents with personal injury and wrongful death claims, handling each claim with the compassion, dedication, and skill it deserves. We have won our clients tens of millions of dollars, providing them with what they need to move on. Contact us today to schedule a compassionate and confidential consultation.