Construction accidents are more common than you would think. In fact, construction accidents have a higher incidence of risk than any other profession with at least two construction workers dying every day in the U.S. But the loss does not stop there; construction accidents cripple the entire family’s ability to care for their dependents, earn an income, and sustain their quality of life. Keep reading below to find out more about the risks, facts, and repercussions of construction accidents:
A construction site is any section of land where a building is being repaired or built. People who work on construction sites are often exposed to heavy machinery, hazardous chemicals, hazardous building materials, and they risk falling from heights. Because of the nature of this type of work, working on construction sites can be quite dangerous.
The top ten risks for working on construction sites include:
- Moving objects
- Working at height
- Slips, trips, and falls,
- Hand-arm vibration syndrome
- Material and manual handling
- Collapsing trenches
- Airborne materials and fibers
Evidence suggests that 1 in 5 workplace accidents occur in the construction industry. The four main causes of construction accidents are:
- Falls – falls make up 36.9% of all construction accidents. Some of the common risk factors include wall openings, unprotected sides, floor holes, improper scaffolding construction, protruding steel bars, and the misuse of portable ladders.
- Struck by an object – 10.3% of people who have construction accidents are struck by an object. This figure includes things like cars as well as objects that have fallen from a height.
- Electrocutions – electrocution causes 8.9% of construction accidents. Common factors include lack of ground fault, contact with power lines, the path to ground discontinuous or missing, and the improper use of cords or equipment
- Caught between objects – this makes up 2.6% of construction accidents. Common causes include things like no protective system in place, failure to inspect trenches and protective systems, and unsafe access/egress.
When an individual is injured on a building site, the ramifications can reach family members and last a generation. Work-related injuries can cause things like:
- Amputated limbs
- Chronic pain
- Extensive medical bills
- Psychological suffering
- Back or neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries – this can lead to paralysis
- Brain injury
- Long term impairment
- Inability to work
While workers’ compensation insurance and legal advice can remedy the loss of income and medical expenses, a worker may never fully get back their quality of life or health after a serious injury.
What to Do if You Have Been Injured in a Construction Accident
If you or someone you care about has been injured in one of the many construction accidents, then the following steps can help you minimize negative ramifications:
- Get medical attention – no matter how minor your injury, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Document and report the injury – not only should you keep a written record of what happened, but you should also consider taking pictures of the scene and your injury. It is important to remember to report the accident to your employer
- Get contact information from witnesses – you will need this if you choose to make a claim
- Find an attorney – they will be able to tell you whether you can claim against your employer for the accident.
For many years now, the construction industry has been the main industry for serious injuries to employees. However, construction hazards are dependent on the type of construction work being undertaken. For example, working with asbestos presents entirely different risks than working on scaffolding. Understanding the risks and knowing how to prevent accidents from occurring will help you to stay safe at work.