Based on the most recent data, falls, slips, and trips accounted for 35.3 percent of workplace deaths within construction and extraction occupations in 2020. Construction has the second most workplace deaths of all industries, behind truck drivers. The number of preventable fatal work injuries in the construction industry decreased from 1,003 in 2019 to 958 in 2020. In 2020, 1,008 workers died in construction site accidents—the third-highest fatality rate of any industry. OSHA safety statistics show that approximately 20% of all US worker deaths occur on construction sites. There are roughly 199,100 construction accident cases every year, with about 60% of construction accidents happening during the worker’s first year of employment.
Fatal Injuries in the Construction Industry
Falls remain the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry, accounting for 39.2 percent of deaths in 2020. Of these fatal falls, 74% occurred from a height of 15 feet or less. In addition to falls, being struck by an object accounts for 11.9 percent of fatal injuries on the job site and electrocutions account for 8.6 percent of fatalities. Other common fatal injuries include being caught in or between objects (6.2%), and being exposed to harmful substances or environments (1%).
Overall, the most dangerous jobs in construction are roofers, followed by iron and steel workers, then painters. The top 10 occupations with the highest number of fatalities in 2020 included:
- Iron & Steel Workers
- Structural Iron & Steel Workers
- Driver/Sales Workers & Truck Drivers
- Plumbers, Pipefitters & Steamfitters
- Operators of Construction Equipment
- Laborers and Helpers in Construction Trades
Most Common Non-Fatal Injuries on Construction Sites
In addition to fatal injuries, it is important to be aware of the most common non-fatal injuries that occur on construction sites. According to OSHA data, the top four most common non-fatal injuries in 2020 were sprains and strains (27%), cuts and lacerations (16%), bruises/contusions (15%) and fractures (7%). Other common non-fatal injuries include sores, abrasions, punctures and other types of soft tissue injury.
Racial Disparities in Construction Site Injuries
Racial disparities in construction site injuries are evident and have been documented in numerous studies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), non-white construction workers are more likely to incur injuries on the job. In 2020, Hispanic or Latino workers accounted for 29% of fatal work injuries in the construction industry. Additionally, African American workers represented 10% of the fatal work injuries in the same year. It’s also worth noting that these figures may be underreported due to language barriers and fear of job loss contributing to underreporting among minority populations. Consequently, these statistics highlight the importance of inclusive, culturally sensitive safety protocols and training in the construction industry.
10 Most Common Construction Site Accidents
1. Falls from Height
Falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries in the construction industry. Workers can fall from ladders, roofs, scaffolding, or any elevated surface. Proper use of fall protection equipment, regular safety training, and strict adherence to safety protocols can help prevent these accidents.
2. Struck by Object
Being struck by falling, flying, swinging, or rolling objects is another common type of accident. These incidents often involve tools dropped from heights or machinery in operation. Regular equipment checks and proper personal protective equipment (PPE) can mitigate these risks.
Electrocutions typically occur when workers come into contact with power lines or use faulty electrical equipment. Regular equipment inspections, proper training, and awareness of surroundings can help prevent such accidents.
4. Caught-In/Between Incidents
These accidents happen when a worker is crushed, caught, or compressed between two or more objects. This could involve heavy machinery, collapsing structures, or even trenches. Adhering to operational guidelines and maintaining a safe distance from operating equipment can reduce these incidents.
5. Slip and Fall Accidents
Slips, trips, and falls can happen due to uneven surfaces, wet or slippery floors, cluttered walkways, or loose materials. Keeping work areas clean and clear can significantly decrease the likelihood of these accidents.
6. Overexertion Injuries
Overexertion from lifting heavy objects, repetitive motion, or working in extreme temperatures can lead to various injuries, including strains, sprains, and heat-related illnesses. Regular breaks, proper lifting techniques, and staying hydrated can help prevent overexertion.
7. Machinery Accidents
Machinery accidents often involve heavy equipment like cranes, forklifts, or excavators. These accidents can result from operator error, mechanical failures, or lack of proper training. Regular equipment checks and operator training can mitigate these risks.
8. Fires and Explosions
Fires and explosions can occur due to faulty gas lines, mishandled flammable materials, or improper storage of combustibles. Regular inspections, proper handling, and storage of hazardous materials can prevent these incidents.
9. Exposure to Hazardous Substances
Exposure to harmful substances like asbestos, lead, or certain chemicals can lead to long-term health problems. Proper PPE, adequate ventilation, and regular health checks can help protect workers.
10. Vehicle Accidents
Construction sites often have vehicles moving around, and accidents can occur due to reckless driving, poor visibility, or lack of communication. Implementing strict driving rules, using spotters, and maintaining clear communication can prevent vehicle-related accidents.
What to Do If You’re Injured on a Construction Site
If you’ve been injured on a construction site, it’s crucial to take the following steps to ensure your safety and protect your rights:
- Seek Immediate Medical Attention: Your health is the utmost priority. Ensure that you receive medical treatment as soon as possible, even if your injuries seem minor. Some symptoms may not present immediately following an accident.
- Report the Accident: Inform your supervisor or site manager about the incident as soon as you can. Make sure to provide a detailed account of what happened.
- Document the Incident: Gather as much information as possible at the site of the accident. If you can, take photographs of your injuries and the accident scene, and collect the names and contact details of any witnesses.
- Preserve Evidence: Don’t discard any equipment or clothing you were using at the time of the accident. They might serve as valuable evidence.
- Consult a Lawyer: Before making any statements or accepting any settlements, it’s advisable to consult a lawyer specializing in construction accidents. They can guide you through the process and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Contact Ganim Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one has experienced any of the common accidents on a construction site mentioned above, you may be eligible for compensation. The Ganim Injury Law Firm has a team of experienced attorneys who specialize in construction accident cases, offering the knowledge and resources necessary to help you navigate the complexities of the legal system. Reach out to us today to discuss your case and explore the options available to you for seeking the justice you deserve.
The data presented in this blog has been gathered from reliable sources dedicated to workplace safety and industry statistics. Below are the resource links:
- OSHA: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides comprehensive data on workplace hazards, including statistics pertaining to construction accidents.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics offers detailed reports on occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.
- NIOSH: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is a reliable source for studies and statistics on workplace safety and health.
- CPWR: The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) offers a wealth of research, training, and information on construction safety.
- EHS Today: An article from EHS Today details the most dangerous jobs of 2020, including several within the construction industry.