Even as workplace safety has improved with technological advancements and increased awareness around regulations, there are some jobs that just come with inherent risk. Understanding common construction accident injuries can provide us with the tools to prevent these incidents in the first place as well as knowledge about how to best handle an accident injury when one does occur.
Looking at the construction site with an eye toward what could go wrong provides an opportunity to take action now—before an incident has occurred—to make it safer for everyone involved.
Here are the most common construction accident injuries and what you can do to make them less likely.
Without a doubt, falls to a lower level are one of the most serious construction-related accident injuries. In fact, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that falls are the top cause of construction workplace-related fatalities with 401 of the 991 reported fatalities from 2019 being in this category.
We most often think of workers falling from heights when they are working on multi-story construction sites, and that is certainly a risk. However, falls from ground level into an open space or from a collapsing building are also hazards that must be recognized and managed.
One major effort to prevent such injuries and deaths is the implementation of personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) for all employees who will be doing work that puts them at risk for falling. Simply having this equipment is insufficient. Workplaces must ensure that employees receive proper training and that there are workplace rules and regulations in place to guarantee compliance with both the training and the usage of the systems.
The Center for Construction Research and Training produced a report in 2021 that examined common construction accident injuries that resulted in fatalities from 2011 to 2019. They found struck-by incidents to be a leading cause of concern. In these incidents, the construction injury is caused when a worker is struck by a vehicle, object, or piece of construction equipment.
Since construction sites are often filled with large and powerful pieces of equipment, the risk of these struck-by incidents cannot be overlooked. OSHA recommends control measures specifically geared toward preventing injuries and death from struck-by incidents:
Live wires on construction sites can pose outsized threats to employees. The American Safety Council provides a list of some common electrocution threats:
Preventing common construction accident injuries caused by electrocution starts with procedures and policies that are consistent and clear. Equipment should be regularly inspected. Damaged equipment should not be used until it is repaired or replaced. Employees should be trained to recognize hazardous conditions and know the proper procedures for reporting them.
Another common cause of personal injury in construction accidents is a caught-in/between incident. These are defined as incidents where a person or a part of their body is caught within or between equipment or objects. The compression can cause serious permanent injuries and death. It can include being caught in running equipment, getting pressed between a piece of equipment and an object (such as a wall), or being tangled in wires.
To prevent injuries and death from caught-in/between incidents, the following safety precautions should be taken:
Unfortunately, errors and missteps happen even in circumstances where everyone is trying to do the right thing. Even more unfortunately, not all workplaces offer safe conditions with adequate rules and regulations in place. If you have been injured on a construction site, you are likely facing ongoing expenses from medical bills and lost wages. Those responsible for maintaining safe working conditions have an immense responsibility to create clear policies, provide meaningful training, and maintain safe equipment. When these responsibilities are not met, the injured worker deserves compensation to help them recover some of their losses.
If you’re wondering what the right next step is for your construction accident injury, reach out to an experienced accident attorney today for a free consultation. We’re here to look over the details of your case and answer the questions you have.