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Construction Accidents

Advocates for Injured Construction Workers

Construction is one of the most dangerous jobs in America. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), one of every five workplace fatalities is a construction worker. Because of the dangerous nature of construction work, injuries are often serious and life-threatening. The most common causes of construction deaths are falls, struck-by accidents, electrical accidents, and caught-between (trenching) accidents.


According to the  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,  there were 849 construction worker deaths recorded in the U.S. in 2012. Among these:

  • 142 fatalities involved building construction workers.
  • 217 fatalities involved heavy and civil engineering construction workers.
  • 473 fatalities involved specialty trade contractors.


To date, Texas remains the most deadly state for construction workers.  In fact, Texas’ construction sites are estimated to be 22% deadlier than the national average.

The Dallas Morning News reports that a total of 4,593 construction worker deaths occurred between 2003 and 2012 – 580 more deaths than expected. Of those excess deaths, 40% were among specialty trade contractors such as roofers and electricians.

By comparison, California, which has a larger construction work force than Texas, experienced 1,204 fewer construction-related deaths than expected over the same time period.


Information below provided by the U.S. Department of Labor- Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

  • Electrical Incidents– Approximately 350 electrical-related fatalities occur each year. Types of electrical incidents include:
    • Contact with Power Lines
      • Fatal electrocution is the main risk, but burns and falls from elevations are also hazards
    • Issues with ground-fault protection
      • This can cause electrical burns, explosions, fire, or death
    • Improper use of Equipment
      • Human error can cause severe injury or death
  • Falls- Half of all fatal falls occur in construction. Additionally, falls from elevation account for one third of all deaths in construction. Causes of falls include:
    • Unprotected Sides, Wall Openings, and Floor Holes
      • Unprotected openings can cause falls or falling objects
      • This can cause injuries ranging from sprains and concussions to death
    • Improper Scaffold Construction
      • 2.3 million construction workers, or 65% of the construction industry, work on scaffolds frequently
      • Protecting workers from scaffold-related accidents would prevent 4,500 injuries and 50 deaths every year
    • Unguarded Exposed Steel Rebars
      • Most accidents involving steel rebars occur when a worker falls on an exposed rebar, impaling himself/herself
    • Misuse of Portable Ladders
      • 24,882 injuries and 36 fatalities occur each year due to falls from stairways and ladders used in construction
  • Struck-By– One in four “struck by vehicle” deaths involve construction workers, more than any other occupation. Struck-by deaths are caused by:
    • Vehicles
      • Approximately 75% of struck-by fatalities involve heavy equipment such as trucks or cranes
    • Falling/Flying Objects
      • Highway construction workers are often involved in dangerous steel erection work
      • 56,000 steel erectors continue to suffer 35 fatal accidents per year
    • Falling Masonry Walls
      • Masonry walls, often used in highway construction can cause severe injury or death
      • Most incidents occur when jacks or lifting equipment are used to position slabs and walls, or when shoring is required until structures can support themselves
  • Caught in-between (Trenching) – The fatality rate for excavation work is 112% higher than the rate for general construction. Common causes of trenching/excavation deaths include:
    • No Protective System
    • Failure to Inspect Trench and Protective Systems
    • Unsafe Spoil-Pile Placement
    • Unsafe Access/Egress
  • Unsafe Working Conditions
    • Safety code violations
    • OSHA violations
    • Improper site design or inspection
  • Dangerous Work Areas
    • Roadway safety defects
    • Faulty stairs
    • Slips and falls/trip and falls
    • Ceiling tile failures and wall tile failures
  • Explosions
  • Defective Equipment
    • Anchor bolt failures
    • Defective power tools
    • Improperly stored materials


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