Some careers come with inherent risks, and construction is one of the most dangerous ones out there. On-the-job injuries are extremely common on construction sites, which makes safety, maintenance and training of the utmost importance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 11 million people in the United States work in construction. This is a 25% increase over the last decade, as building projects become more lucrative and more money is invested in infrastructure.
In 2020, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction industry accounted for close to 20% of fatal workplace injuries. Within that number, almost one-third of the accidents were caused by a slip, trip or fall from a high platform to a lower level.
When someone is injured in a construction accident, or a tragic death occurs, there can be extensive medical bills, loss of income and even funeral expenses that are heaped on the family unexpectedly. Within moments, a family’s life can be completely upended.
Comparison Between Construction and Other Industries
Compared to other industries, construction accounted for 10% more slip, fall and trip injuries. For falls to a lower level, the industry was 10% higher; for falls on the same level, the industry was 2% higher, and for a slip and trip with no fall, the industry was 1.5% higher. These numbers highlight how the construction industry is inherently more dangerous than many common industries when it comes to dangerous falls.
Rating Construction Accidents From Most Common to Least
The staggering numbers show that construction is a job that requires intense concentration, attention to detail and regular safety training. Some injuries on the job are more common than others, with falls being the most common in the industry.
Whether a fall from a high floor to a lower one or a simple trip and fall, falls account for the largest percentage of injuries of construction workers. Since 2018, this number has increased each year.
2. Struck By Accidents
After falls, construction workers are most likely to be injured in a struck-by accident. This means that the worker is hit by a rolling, swinging, falling or flying object. This is also the leading cause of non-fatal workplace construction injuries and the second most common fatal injury on a construction site. Struck-by accidents also include injuries caused by falling of debris.
Electrocution is another common cause of construction injuries. The CDC reports that electrocution is four times more likely for a construction worker than one in any other industry. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, construction safety protocols are likely to be overlooked, which may lead to an increase in electrocutions on site.
The fourth most common injuries in construction are caused by machinery. Safety is quickly improving when it comes to machinery on construction sites, but vehicle accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries. These include the following: run-over incidents, crush incidents or forklift accidents.
5. Hazardous Noise
This may be an injury that few think of, but hazardous noise levels affect close to 75% of construction workers. A large percentage of workers have hearing loss compared to other industries. This problem can be prevented with better protocols regarding hearing protection, although reports show that less than half of construction workers use the proper equipment to protect against hazardous noise.
Safety Tips for Construction Sites
Perhaps one of the largest tragedies of construction accidents is that many of them could be prevented with simple training and safety compliance. Both federal and state governments have mandates to keep employers compliant in maintenance, training and on-the-job behavior. When it comes to safety, both the employee and the worker have responsibilities.
Protection From Falls
In any area with unprotected edges, employers must provide workers with fall protection systems. These may include safety net systems, guardrails or personal fall arrest systems. Guardrails are intended to prevent falls from happening, while other safety measures are used to protect the employee should a fall happen.
The worker should be familiar with the job site and any potential falling hazards. All hardware should be inspected before use and workers should regularly check equipment to make sure it is functioning properly.
Again, employers are required to provide head protection that is approved by the American National Standards Institute. Employees must be given head protection for free and it should be replaced immediately any time they suffer an electric shock or suffer a blow to the head.
Workers are responsible for bringing their head protection gear to work any time they are on the construction site. Head injuries can occur in many situations, including the following:
- Nail gun discharge
- Falling debris or tools
- Moving construction equipment
- Electrical hazards
Face and Eye Protection
As with head protection, eye and face protective equipment must be provided by the employer on any construction site. For workers who have prescription glasses, they must custom make eye protective wear that matches the prescription lenses without disturbing the ability to see.
Workers should ensure that all protective wear fits snugly on their faces and does not interfere with any movements. Repair and clean all protective equipment regularly and inspect it each time it is put on. Any damage, chips or cracks should be reported, and the workers should be given new equipment.
What If There Is An Accident?
Despite the best efforts of workers and employees, construction accidents are all too common. Anyone who has been injured in a construction accident, or has a family member who has been, should be aware of what is expected of them when it comes to possible lawsuits and compensation.
The most important thing to do is seek medical attention for any injury. If the injury is severe enough or there is worry about long-term effects, call emergency services for help.
Once the injury is treated and the worker is stable, the incident must be reported. There may be a statute of limitations on how quickly an injury must be reported, so it should be done as soon as possible. Reporting the incident quickly can help with a workers’ compensation claim, add validity to a claim and prevent future accidents if safety measures can be quickly implemented.
If the injured is healthy enough to do so, they should gather evidence related to the accident. This may include pictures and documentation of a visible injury, unsafe or dangerous conditions that led to the condition and any damage to the safety equipment provided by the employer.
Contact An Attorney
The process of filing a claim after a construction accident is tedious, complicated and often confusing. The team at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers offers the Stone Gold Guarantee, which means we alleviate the financial burden with no initial fee to start a case. We do not pass along any costs until you get paid. We provide information and place no obligation on the shoulders of the injured or their family members.
Contact us today if you or someone you love has been injured in a construction accident, and we will see what we can do to help stabilize your financial future. We have physical locations in Peabody, Boston, Natick and Westwood, and we look forward to representing those who have been victims of construction accidents.