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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.

CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT STATISTICS

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.

TEXAS NAMED DEADLIEST STATE FOR CONSTRUCTION WORKERS

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.

COMMON CAUSES OF ACCIDENTS

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
OTHER ACCIDENT CAUSES
  • 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

HAVE YOU BEEN INJURED?

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