Construction workers are surrounded by hazards all day long, which makes the construction industry among the most dangerous in the country.
Construction Accident Statistics
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than 5,000 workers died in 2019 while on the job. About 20% of these workers were in the private construction industry. That means for every 10 American workers killed on the job in 2019, two were construction workers.
It is crucial to reduce these statistics. The first step is education. To help keep work sites safe, here are OSHA’s “Fatal Four” construction accidents and our attorneys’ tips on how they can be prevented.
Falls account for the largest percentage of workplace deaths, per OSHA.
There are plenty of fall hazards on construction sites, such as uncovered holes, unprotected sides, poorly constructed scaffolding, and unstable ladders. If the job requires working on a roof, the risk of falling is present even if the roof is stable.
Most falls can be avoided by following OSHA’s fall protection rules and regulations, which involves training employees about:
- Their role in preventing falls, such as in a fall protection plan;
- How to build and maintain fall protection structures, such as guardrails;
- How to handle and store equipment for building these structures; and
- The importance of guarding any open holes in the floor, such as with a guardrail, toe-board, or floor hole cover.
Employers must provide a safe workplace. They must, therefore, also provide any necessary safety equipment to their workers so that they can effectively avoid falls.
- Struck by an Object
The second most common cause of construction fatalities is being struck by an object. This may mean a construction worker was struck by a falling object, loose material, vehicles, cranes, or malfunctioning equipment.
A good way to prevent being struck by an object is to remain aware of your surroundings at all times. That is easier said than done, which is why it is also important to look out for your coworkers. If you see them in the path of a vehicle, quickly warn them. The same goes for if you are working on scaffolds and see material falling. Sadly, construction workers often have to work in unsafe conditions, despite this being a direct violation of their rights.
If you were struck by an object on a construction site, consult an attorney for help. You could be entitled to compensation.
The third-leading cause of death on construction sites is electrocution.
There are far too many electric shock hazards on construction sites. A few examples include defective power tools, wet outlets, exposed or ungrounded wiring, overhead or fallen power lines, electrical panels, and even inclement weather (such as lightning).
To avoid electric shock and electrocution, employers must emphasize electrical safety. This means providing workers with the safety equipment they need, as well as working power tools. Employers should also not allow workers onto outside construction sites when the weather is dangerous.
- Getting Caught in or Between Things
The last of the Fatal Four is getting caught in or between equipment, devices, structures, or even tools on construction sites. This may sound similar to getting struck by an object, but it is slightly different.
As OSHA explains, a caught-in or -between accident is when an injury is the result of “being squeezed, caught, crushed, pinched, or compressed between two or more objects, or between parts of an object.” It also applies to accidents in which workers were caught in or crushed between one moving vehicle and a stationary object, or multiple moving vehicles. Cave-ins are also included in this category.
Caught-in or -between accidents can be avoided by ensuring that all workers are trained in and comply with OSHA safety regulations. Employers should not allow worksites to get dangerously overcrowded, nor should they allow unfit and untrained employees to operate heavy machinery.
As you can see, the single best way to avoid construction accidents is to follow any and all safety regulations at work. If you notice any OSHA violations, you may file a safety and health complaint with your local OSHA office.
Strong Law, P.C. Advocates for Injured Construction Workers
Depending on the circumstances, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits or compensatory damages through a third-party lawsuit.
At Strong Law, P.C., we have helped injured construction workers and their families maximize compensation. Established in 1976, our Springfield law firm continues to provide strong representation to those with serious injury cases. We have resolved over 130 separate cases for more than $1 million each—and that’s just in the past 11 years.
Find out more in a free consultation with a Springfield trial attorney—call (417) 855-2022 or contact us online. We fight for families throughout Missouri.