Common Types of Construction Accidents
Our country depends on construction workers to build our homes, construct the buildings businesses operate in, and pave and repair our roads. But being a construction worker is hardly an easy job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fatalities in the private construction industry increased 5% in 2019, a total of 1,061 deaths, the highest total since 2007. It’s estimated that over the course of a 45-year long career, a construction worker has a 1-in-200 chance of sustaining a fatal, on-the-job injury.
There are a huge number of ways construction site accidents and injuries can potentially occur. Between all the heavy machinery and powerful tools involved and the fact that workers often have to work at high elevations or in tight, enclosed spaces, it’s very easy to get hurt if safety isn’t taken seriously.
Common Construction Accidents
Although there are so many ways for construction accidents to happen, certain types of accidents tend to happen more frequently than others. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a government agency that oversees workplace safety, has what they call the “fatal four” construction site accidents. The “fatal four” accidents were responsible for 60.6% of all construction worker deaths in 2014:
Falls are the most common construction site accident by far. In 2019, falls accounted for 36.5% of all construction worker deaths. During the 2019 fiscal year, several of OSHA’s 10 most commonly issued citations for construction sites all involved things that could lead to falls, such as inadequate fall protection, scaffolding problems, and unsafe ladders.
Electrocutions accounted for 8.6% of all construction worker deaths in 2019. Not only are construction workers often working with or around things like exposed wiring and overhead wires, they may also be working around wires in wet conditions. Poor maintenance of power tools and cables can also lead to electrocutions. When construction workers are working outdoors, it’s important for site supervisors to carefully monitor the weather and take appropriate safety measures when conditions change. Lightning strikes, for example, are another thing that can fall into the “electrocution” category.
Struck By Object
In 2019, about 10.1% of fatal construction accidents were the result of a worker being struck by an object. Since construction sites are full of objects being hoisted up, swinging around, or falling there’s a very good chance that someone could be struck by that object. This type of construction accident could also include workers being struck by a motor vehicle.
There are several ways a construction worker might suffer from a fatal caught-in/between accident. A limb might get caught in a piece of equipment, the worker could be crushed by falling debris, or a worker could get trapped between immovable objects. These types of accidents accounted for about 2.5% of all construction site fatalities in 2019.
Other Common Construction Accidents
OSHA estimates that if the “fatal four” could be eliminated, it would save hundreds lives in America every year. But the “fatal four” are hardly the only causes of construction injuries. Many construction workers either work directly on the road or close to it, which puts workers at risk for being hit by a passing vehicle. In developing countries, approximately 30% of all motor vehicle crashes involve someone at work. According to the Michigan Department of Transportation, most work zone accidents are the result of distracted/inattentive drivers and speeding.
Construction workers are also very commonly exposed to hazardous materials, which can lead to respiratory illnesses if they’re not handled safely. It’s estimated that if a person begins working in construction at the age of 20 and lives to be 85, they’ll have a 15% chance of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and an 11% chance of developing other parenchymal chest problems due to dust inhalation.
Contact a Construction Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a construction accident, it’s very important to contact a construction accident lawyer right away. At a time like this, it’s very important to have someone on your side who can fight to protect your rights and help you get all of the compensation you need for your recovery. At Goodwin & Scieszka, we’re experienced in helping the victims of Michigan construction accidents. Contact us today to get started.