Common Construction Accidents & How to Avoid Them
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
A construction worker’s job poses the risk of serious injury or death due to heavy equipment and machinery operation and handling. In 2019, there were 5,333 fatal work injuries, so a worker died approximately every 99 minutes because of a work injury in the United States.
Our Michigan construction accident attorneys encourage construction site owners, operators, and workers to take precautions to avoid these common construction accidents. If you were injured at a construction site, our legal team can help you get benefits, including workers’ compensation for your injury or loss.
Common Types of Accidents on the Construction Site
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), these are the top four most common construction site accidents.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Falls, slips, and trips represented 37.9% of all fatal accidents in the construction industry in 2019. These accidents occur when workers do not have proper fall protection, use faulty ladders, walk on poorly constructed scaffolds, or work near unprotected openings.
Falls from such great heights can result in serious injuries, including:
- Fractured bones
- Internal bleeding
- Severe bruising
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
To avoid falls, workers must use scaffolding to elevate platforms and guardrail systems which prevent accidental falls from elevated surfaces. Using secure safety nets or personal fall protection like a personal fall arrest system can help reduce the likelihood of injuries if there is an unexpected fall.
Exposed electrical wiring is ubiquitous on construction sites, and workers who come into contact with them are at risk of electrocution. They work with power tools connected to temporary power sources by long extension cords. It increases the risk of electrocution if the immediate environment is damp as these conditions increase conductivity. While digging, metal tools and equipment can strike underground power lines. A crane job is hazardous because overhead live electric cables could collide with it.
Some common injuries from electrocution can include:
- Electrical burns
- Thermal contact burns
- Fractures, TBI, and other injuries from explosions caused by electrical fires
To reduce the chances of these accidents, wires should not be exposed in trafficked areas for workers not to touch them by mistake. All cables should also be clearly labeled, so there isn’t any confusion about live wires versus those turned off. Wires should also be switched off when not in use.
Struck by Object
Construction workers are often unaware of falling objects from tools to lunch boxes. An object can fall off from a machine and hit a construction worker. Whether it’s a crane that drops an object or a part breaking and falling on a worker, an injury can happen at any time when you’re on a construction site.
Because of the unpredictability of these accidents, there is often little time to respond. These life-threatening injuries can result from falling objects:
- Broken bones
- Head and neck injuries
Hard hats should be worn at all times as protection from potential injury caused by falling objects. Protective netting and warning signs can also help reduce construction sites’ risk for those working on them every day. Construction workers need to wear high-visibility clothing when working near machinery and tools so that other people can see them.
Caught In or Between Machinery
Heavy construction equipment is essential for completing projects, but these machines can pose significant risks. Caught in or caught-between accidents occur when a worker’s body part gets crushed or caught in heavy equipment.
These accidents are hazardous, resulting in serious injuries such as:
- Muscle tears
- Deep cuts
- Loss of limbs (or limbs requiring amputation)
- Extensive damage to your internal organs
Construction companies and their owners can ensure the safety of their workers by restricting access to an entry to an unprotected trench, avoiding areas with heavy equipment unless workers have proper personal protective equipment, and keeping workers away from dangerous areas between moving heavy equipment. As part of safety training, workers must also be trained on operating heavy equipment correctly and be mindful of their surroundings.
Get the Support You Need After a Construction Accident
If a construction site owner, operator, or coworker fails to follow OSHA’s rigorous standards for preventing accidents, workers can sustain injuries. If you have been injured on the job, consult an attorney at our law firm for legal help in finding out your rights, including workers’ compensation entitlement.
At the law firm of Cochran, Kroll, and Associates, P.C., we help people injured in construction accidents get the justice and compensation they deserve. To find out if you have a case against the at-fault party, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation by calling 866-MICH-LAW. We never charge a fee unless we win a settlement for you.
What do I do if there are unsafe working conditions at a construction site in Michigan?
Employers must follow all OSHA standards to protect all employees and managers onsite and keep everyone safe from potential injuries and fatalities. If you see unsafe conditions, such as exposed electrical wiring or unsecured scaffolding, report it to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (MIOSHA) and the nearest OSHA office. This can help you protect your right to a workers’ compensation claim as it leaves a paper trail documenting that you tried to warn of unsafe working conditions.
What should I prepare to tell the construction accident lawyer before I meet them?
Your lawyer will need to know specific information about the accident. These facts may include the date and time of the injury, what you were doing at the time, and whether any coworkers were involved physically or in running equipment that caused it. These factors can affect how much compensation you are eligible to receive.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.