Construction workers around and on girders

Common Construction Accidents & Injuries

Construction sites are immensely dangerous for employees and the general public, especially when safety is not made the number one priority. Construction companies must keep worksites safe for employees and non-employees. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than 20% of all worker-related fatalities occur in the construction industry despite construction workers only making up 6% of the U.S. labor force. Statistically, this means that construction workers are more than three times as likely to be hurt at work than the average employee in another industry.

The most common types of construction injuries that cause fatalities are deemed the “Fatal Four” by OSHA, which include:

  • Falls
  • Being struck by an object
  • Electrocution
  • Getting caught in or between equipment and machines

42% of construction site fatalities involve falls. OSHA reports that fall protection is its most violated standard every year. Equipment and instructions for working with harnesses or other safety systems that can stop falls are often disregarded. OSHA reports that contractors and employers often say protection is too expensive or creates new issues even though the equipment can save lives.

Electrocution can be caused by machinery malfunction, loose wires, or not observing safety protocols. OSHA reported the construction industry sees 86 fatal electrocutions per year on average.

Other common causes of construction accidents include:

  • Fire Dangers: Fires and explosions can occur because of chemical gas leaks, equipment malfunctions, electrical issues, and improper handling of flammable materials.
  • Height-Related Accidents: Height-related accidents include falls from heights or ladders, being struck by falling objects, and scaffold collapses.
  • Trip/Slip and Falls: OSHA reported that trip/slip and fall accidents are among the most common causes of injuries on construction sites. Such accidents can occur by debris, defects, holes in the flooring, unsafe or broken stairs, poor lighting, grease or oil on floors, loose wires, discarded equipment, uneven surfaces, and slippery floor from the weather or spills.
  • Crane, Hoist, and Forklift Accidents: Crane and forklift operation requires special training. Since the machinery holds and carries loads weighing tons, they must be operated safely. A lack of training, machinery defects, and equipment failures can cause serious injuries.
  • Trench Accidents: Trench accidents occur if a trench collapses or a construction worker could be trapped and unable to get out on his own. This can result in the worker’s air supply being cut off, the worker suffering injuries from being crushed, or the worker being buried alive.
  • Elevator Shaft Accidents: Construction workers are at risk of falling down elevator shafts if they are instructed to work around an open shaft but not given fall prevention equipment.
  • Exposure to Dangerous Chemicals or Toxins: Breathing in chemicals or toxins can cause construction workers to suffer respiratory illnesses.
  • Burns: Burns can occur from fuel, open flames, unexpected fires, and explosions.
  • Lacerations: Lacerations vary in severity. Deep cuts can sever tendons and muscles. Jagged lacerations from contact with sharp or fast-moving equipment can be difficult to stabilize. Serious abrasions may even require skin grafts.
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries: OSHA reports that falls and ‘struck by or against object’ injuries are the first and second leading causes of TBIs that lead to death.
  • Hearing Loss: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the construction industry is one of the most common causes of occupational hearing loss globally.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center at the University of Alabama Birmingham, falls are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injuries can also occur due to lifting strains, accidents with heavy equipment, and struck-by object incidents.
  • Repetitive Stress Injuries: Construction involves repetitive actions which can cause repetitive stress injuries in workers’ backs, wrists, ankles, and joints. Strains, sprains, torn tendons, and cumulative soft tissue damage can also occur. Harvard School of Public Health’s study found that 40% of all construction workers over 50 years old struggle with chronic back pain.
  • Overexertion: Construction often involves physical labor for long hours in high heat which can lead to overexertion with complications such as heat stroke. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 36.8% of occupational heat-related deaths occur in the construction industry.

How GoldenbergLaw Can Help You

If you or a loved one was injured in a construction accident, contact the Minnesota construction attorneys at GoldenbergLaw. Our team has more than 35 years of experience providing justice and the Gold standard of advocacy for our clients. Contact us today for a free consultation!


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