The facility construction process includes activities on temporary and mobile construction sites that encompass different flows of materials, workers, machinery, and equipment. Construction workers do their job in challenging and dynamic conditions, and the construction site itself includes the presence of noise and various physical and chemical hazards.
Construction is a high-risk activity due to frequent accidents that can lead to injuries, temporary incapacity for work, and even fatal outcomes. That is why protection at work on construction sites is a priority.
Construction site accident statistics are pretty depressing. According to The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one out of the five deaths among workers occurs in the construction industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) claims that work on construction is the third most dangerous niche that takes the most significant number of lives per year – in 2020, as many as 1,008 deaths were recorded.
OSHA grouped the most common injuries on construction sites into four categories, called “fatal four.” Below we will explain what each type of injury includes and how to avoid them. You will find out what you need to do if you suffer an injury at work to claim your legal rights.
What are the most common accidents on construction sites?
According to the number of injuries at work, the construction industry has always been in the top five risky activities. Human mistakes or poor implementation of safety measures on the construction site by workers or managers cause 80-90% of construction accidents.
Here are the most common accidents on construction sites, according to OSHA:
Falls and slips
Falls and slips make up nearly 35% of all construction injuries. They are caused by untidy work surfaces, insufficient working equipment, spilled oils, and similar industrial lubricants. Workers can inadvertently fall from scaffolding, roofs, high walls, and ladders, which causes serious consequences – fractures of the bones of the body and head, but also fatal outcomes.
To prevent falls, keep work surfaces clear and tidy, and well-lit if you work at night. Wear appropriate protective equipment (for example, if you work at high altitudes, a fall stop system is imperative), and observe safety regulations.
Struck by an object
OSHA defines this type of injury as an impact between a person and an object. For example, a worker can be hit by heavy machinery (such as cranes), material falling from a construction machine, etc.
To prevent these accidents, mark the areas where the material may slip. Workers must wear personal protective equipment (PPE), avoid places under the lifted load, and prevent sticking between mobile and fixed objects.
Electrocutions include electric shock, fire, or explosions caused by electricity. Electrocutions occur due to unsecured contact with the high voltage power lines (underground or overhead), which are extremely dangerous. The most common injuries due to electric shock are burns that can lead to fatal outcomes.
To prevent electrocution, always wear protective equipment, turn off the power when repairing power lines, and keep a safe distance from all high-voltage parts.
This type of accident happens when caught between two objects – a wall and a construction vehicle, or if a part of the body is pulled in by machinery or heavy construction material crashes on an employee.
To avoid injuries caused by these accidents, workers should focus on the workplace and take additional preventive measures. For example, if you work with machines that can retract a part of the body, do not bring your hands close to the machine’s moving parts and wear adequate personal protective equipment. Pay attention to the movement of construction vehicles, and if you are a driver, never drive backward if you do not have a clear view.
What to do if you get injured on the construction site?
Construction site injury can seriously endanger your health and leave you incapable of working for long. However, you can follow these steps to take care of your health and the settlement that legally belongs to you.
If you think you have a head or spine injury, stay in a prone position and seek emergency medical help. Even if your injuries aren’t life-threatening, go to the nearest medical center to record the damages by a medical professional. The medical report on injuries will be evidence for claiming compensation.
Photograph the place where the accident happened and your injuries. Inform your supervisor of the injuries sustained. Ask coworkers present at the accident to testify in your compensation claim.
Hire an attorney office with many years of experience in labor law and representation of construction workers, such as Law S&B. An experienced lawyer will make sure that you receive compensation for your injuries. If the insurance company does not offer an adequate settlement, it will take your case to court to fight for your rights.