Construction has become known as one of the most dangerous professions in the world. Though we depend on construction workers to build and support our growing cities and numerous types of projects, statistics clearly show those workers face tremendous risks while on the job. In fact, one in every 10 workers who perform duties on a U.S. construction site are injured each year, accounting for more than 150,000 injuries and deaths on construction sites annually.
With figures as alarming as these, data collected through government agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) become critical to helping regulators, employers, and workers identify where the most significant dangers exist. Although the hazards on construction sites are numerous, OSHA statistics point to just four primary hazards as the main culprits for construction accidents.
Below, our legal team at Todd Miner Law provides information about the most pressing construction hazards and steps which can be taken to prevent them:
Falls and fall-related accidents account for, by far, the most pressing dangers in construction. In fact, nearly 40% of all construction deaths in 2016 resulted from falls, according to OSHA. Hazards involving falls commonly include:
- Working from heights
- Ladders and scaffolding
- Falls to lower levels (through open holes, existing openings, etc.)
- Collapsing structures or equipment
- Slip, trip, and fall accidents
Preventing fall-related accidents demands constant focus on safety, as well as the use of personal fall-arrest safety equipment, installation and maintenance of perimeter protection (i.e. guardrails), covering and securement of any openings or holes, and appropriate use of ladders and scaffolding.
#2: Struck-By Objects
Accidents involving victims being struck-by objects are identified as the second greatest hazard on construction sites. These types of accidents commonly involve
- Falling objects, including falling tools, equipment, or debris
- Vehicle accidents, including car and truck accidents
- Heavy equipment and moving machinery
- Forklift accidents
- Rolling objects or equipment
According to OSHA, “struck-by-object” accidents account for roughly 9% to 10% of fatalities in construction each year. Managing “struck-by hazards” requires workers to be vigilant of their surroundings (i.e. not positioning themselves between fixed and moving objects), the use of high-visibility vests or clothing near dangerous equipment, and proper use of construction vehicles, among other preventative measures taken by both workers and employers.
#3: “Caught-In / Between” Accidents
OSHA reports that construction accidents involving victims who are caught in or caught between objects are the third leading cause of fatalities in the industry. These types of accidents involve both “caught-in” / compression hazards and crushing hazards, which may include:
- Being caught between moving and fixed equipment
- Being caught in running equipment or machinery
- Being caught in or between collapsing structures or materials
- Engulfment in collapsing materials
OSHA advises the two most essential safety tips for managing these hazards are protecting trenches and excavations through the use of shoring, sloping, benching, or trench shield systems, and never entering any unprotected excavation or trench without proper protection.
#4: Electrical Hazards
As the fourth leading cause of construction fatalities, electrocution is a common hazard on many worksites. Electrocution hazards may involve:
- Direct and indirect exposure to electricity
- Fatal electrocution
- Fires and explosions
- Electrical injuries
For optimal management of electrical hazards, OSHA advises workers to identify and locate utilities prior to work, be cautious of overhead power lines when operating large equipment or vehicles, follow safe distance requirements, only use power tools that are grounded / double insulated, use ground-fault circuit interrupters, and be vigilant of potential hazards when using platforms, scaffolding, and ladders.
Todd Miner Law: Representing Victims of Construction Accidents
Todd Miner Law leverages decades of collective experience to fight for victims of construction accidents throughout Orlando and Central Florida in matters involving work injuries, workers’ compensation, and personal injury lawsuits filed against negligent and at-fault defendants. From crane, forklift and industrial accidents to injuries caused by any of most pressing construction hazards, our legal team is available to help you protect your right to compensation.
To learn more about your rights and options following a construction accident, contact us to speak with an Orlando injury lawyer.