The Fatal Four and Other Common Construction Site Accidents
Construction workers face multiple dangers every time they go to work. The nature of the job requires not only physical skill but also extensive knowledge and experience with controlling complicated equipment. As a result, it’s not surprising that over twenty percent of worker fatalities occur on construction sites or in the construction field. In fact, construction work poses threats so dangerous that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has actually classified the top four risks as the “Fatal Four.”
Construction Injury Risks
According to OSHA, eliminating the threat of the following four most common construction accidents could save over 500 lives every year. The “Fatal Four” accident risks include:
- Falls. Approximately 40% of construction injury deaths result from a worker falling from scaffolding, roofs, cranes, and other high places. Typical fatal injuries include brain or spinal cord trauma and internal damage, including organ ruptures and crush injuries caused by the impact of hitting the ground.
- Electrocution. Over eight percent of construction site fatalities occur as a direct result of electrical accidents. Electrical injuries can occur at construction sites when workers are performing tasks near electrical panels or overhead wires. Electricity can cause burns, brain damage, and irreversible damage to other organs of the body.
- Falling objects. In addition to the threat of falling off a scaffold or roof, workers are also in danger of being fatally struck by falling objects, including loose tools, cement buckets, and building materials. Nearly eight percent of construction fatalities occur from brain and neck damage caused by the impact force of an object as it struck the worker’s body.
- Compression injuries. Four percent of fatalities are attributed to crush and “caught-between” injuries. These accidents include situations where workers are killed as a result of being caught in or compressed by equipment or objects, as well as being struck, caught, or crushed by collapsing structures, equipment, or materials.
Although the above accident types are the most fatal for construction workers, they’re not the only risks. Additional threats include:
- Injuries from equipment. Workers can get run over or hit by construction vehicles. Power tools can cause excessive damage when used improperly or when they malfunction. Heavy machinery can break or collapse, causing all those around it to be at risk for injury.
- Injuries from fires and explosions. Construction site fires and explosions often result from the mishandling or poor storage of gasoline and other flammable substances.
- Injuries from a trench collapse. Sometimes it’s necessary for construction workers to dig trenches as part of a building project. When a trench collapses, workers can fall into the trench and be buried beneath tons of dirt and heavy machinery.
The list of types of accidents and injuries goes on and on. That’s why it’s so important for construction workers to do their part to prevent dangerous and deadly injuries at the work site.
Catastrophic Construction Injury Prevention
Training is the first line of defense against construction workplace injuries. Every worker should receive a proper number of hours of education covering safe work site practices. Employers are obligated to ensure their workers understand the proper way to handle work site tools and machinery. Furthermore, employers are mandated by OSHA to provide safe working environments. This mandate means that employers are responsible for:
- Fall safety. Employers must make sure that every time workers are on roofs and scaffolding, fall-prevention countermeasures are in place.
- Electricity safety. Employers must cover and clearly mark areas that pose electrocution hazards.
- Equipment safety. Employers must ensure that all equipment is serviced and regularly checked for proper functioning.
Although your employer is responsible for keeping you safe, it’s vital that all workers also cooperate to prevent injuries and make the site a safer place. One person using equipment carelessly can endanger several individuals at once; sometimes the entire work crew. If you see someone mishandling equipment or disregarding safety protocols, you need to speak up, before his actions hurt you.
Reporting Safety Hazards
Reporting safety breaches and accidents is a very important step workers can take to prevent future construction site accidents. State and federal workplace safety bureaus can use information on job site injury incidents to address safety concerns in a specific company.
The data is also used to help create safety training programs and awareness campaigns for constructions workers.
Rebuilding Your Future After a Construction Site Accident
Sad to say, construction site accidents are not uncommon in Texas. However, there are steps you can take to help prevent injuries and promote site safety. However, when these precautions fail and you’re seriously injured, you still have options. One of those options is to consult with a workers’ compensation and personal injury attorney.
Attorney Steve Lee has more than 35 years of experience helping accident victims. If you’ve been injured at a construction site, we will fight for your right to compensation. We’ve seen enough construction accident victims to know how lonely and overwhelming it is to file an insurance claim against your employer. But we’ve learned what you need to build a strong claim: respect, understanding, encouragement, and the right resources. Make sure you’re treated fairly by scheduling your FREE consultation today. Simply call 713-921-4171 or fill out the convenient contact form on this page.