Construction accidents are typically unexpected and scary. Injuries can be severe and often limit your ability to work while you recover, adding financial stress to physical discomfort. It is important to know that you are not alone after a construction accident. In fact, there were over 200,000 nonfatal construction accidents reported in the year 2020 alone.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) refers to the four most common construction accidents as the “Big Four.”Learn more about these common accidents in construction below, including the steps you can take to help prevent them and what to do if you are injured.
Most Common Construction Accident: Falls
According to OSHA, falls are the most common type of accident in the construction industry. When construction workers spend their days working on scaffolding or in unfinished buildings that may have holes in the floor and unprotected sides, it is no wonder that falls are common construction accidents.
Falls can happen in many different ways, including slips or trips on hazards, missteps that result in a loss of balance, and faulty scaffolding giving way under a worker’s weight. Construction workers can help mitigate the risk of falls by always moving hazards out of the way or letting others know about them, covering holes in the floor when possible, and always wearing fall arrest equipment when working from heights. Contractors on the job site should also post and adhere to safety regulations and ensure that all equipment is up to code.
Electrocution on Construction Sites
Electrocution is the second most common accident in construction. Installing new electrical wires, renovating areas near existing power lines, and using power tools and extension cords can all create electrocution risks on construction sites.
A few of the ways that a construction worker may be electrocuted include the following:
- Coming into contact with a power line, either directly or while in a crane, on a ladder, or holding a piece of equipment that touches the live wire
- Lack of ground-fault protection (such as a circuit interrupter)
- Using damaged tools and extension cords with frayed wires or damaged insulation, or using faulty outlets
- Improper use of equipment
Following safety instructions provided on equipment, regularly inspecting tools and cords for damage, and consulting a qualified electrician when appropriate are all ways to help prevent electrocution.
Caught-in Accidents in Construction
Caught-in accidents are another common accident in the construction industry and unfortunately, can lead to severe injuries or even death. These accidents happen when a construction worker becomes trapped between two objects.
Caught-in accidents typically occur when a heavy object pins someone to a wall or the floor, potentially compressing or crushing their body. Caught-in accidents on construction sites can also involve someone’s clothing or hair getting caught in a machine’s moving parts, pulling them in, or strangling them.
Struck-by Accidents on Construction Sites
Struck-by accidents are fairly common on job sites due to the amount of movement happening at any given time. A construction worker may be struck by a vehicle, a falling object, or even something that someone else has thrown to another worker.
Struck-by accidents are also common while building masonry walls. When building these walls and lifting heavy slabs, there is a danger of heavy objects falling and striking another person.
What Should You Do if You Are Injured in a Construction Accident?
If you or a loved one were injured in a construction accident, your first step should be to report it to your supervisor. You will likely be eligible for workers’ compensation provided by your employer. It is generally a good idea to retain a construction accident lawyer if you are considering filing for workers’ compensation benefits because an attorney can help ensure your rights are protected during the claims process.
Additionally, if your construction accident was caused by a third party other than your employer, you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the potentially responsible party. Examples of possible negligence include installing and providing faulty scaffolding or equipment, hazards that someone failed to remedy or warn about, and safety guidelines not being followed. Schedule a free legal consultation with a Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. construction accident lawyer near you to learn more.