It is already common knowledge that construction work is one of the most dangerous professions in the United States. Construction workers are at significantly higher risk of serious injury or death in workplace accidents than most other workers.
Statistics from 2018 illustrate this point well. That year, the private sector experienced 4,779 worker fatalities, and more than 20 percent of those were in construction. Among total construction deaths, here were the four most common fatal accident scenarios:
Falling from height: Includes falling off a ladder or scaffolding, a roof, down an elevator shaft or from building framework. These accidents can’t always be prevented, but the dangers can largely be mitigated if workers consistently wear body harnesses connected to safety lines.
Being struck by an object: The greatest dangers are being struck by falling objects (like power tools falling onto a worker’s head) or being struck by large objects moving with some speed. Examples could include being struck by a car/truck or struck by a swinging beam at a construction site.
Electrocutions: Electricity is a hazard for nearly any worker in nearly any workplace (including those who work in an office). But this scenario is especially dangerous for construction workers, who are often working right next to electricians roughing out the wiring in a building or pulling power from unshielded generators.
Getting caught in or between objects/surfaces: The possibilities are nearly endless in this category. Just a few examples include being trapped under falling construction materials or being buried in a trench collapse, or getting limbs caught in trash compactors or other machines meant to crush or compress materials.
In 2018, approximately 60 percent of construction worker deaths were attributed to these four accident scenarios. If we could somehow eliminate or control for these four hazards, it could save an estimated 591 lives every year.
While not all accidents and injuries are preventable, most of them can and should be prevented. The primary responsibility is on employers to adequately train their workers, distribute all required personal protective equipment and carefully monitor practices on construction sites.
If you’ve been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a construction accident, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation injury or death benefits. Please discuss your options with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney today.