According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately one in five of all fatal workplace accidents occur in the construction industry. This extraordinarily high rate of deaths on construction sites highlights how dangerous the industry is. But why is the construction industry so dangerous for its workers, and what can be done to limit this risk?
A High Rate of On-the-Job Fatalities
The construction industry has an unusually high rate of on-the-job fatalities compared to most other industries. In 2020 alone, 1,008 people died across the United States as a result of construction accidents, or about 21.2% of all workplace related fatalities. While other industries, such as healthcare, transportation, and retail, had more non-fatal accidents, no other industry saw as many people die on the job as construction.
Common Causes of Construction Accidents
Accidents in the construction industry are typically attributed to four major causes, which are collectively known as the “Fatal Four”:
- Falling injuries: By far the most common cause of construction accidents, these injuries occur when construction workers fall, usually from a great height. These injuries are especially common from workers who work on skyscrapers and other elevated buildings.
- Struck-by injuries: These injuries occur when someone is struck by an object at high speed. These include falling objects, debris from heavy equipment, as well as injuries from being hit by vehicles on the site.
- Electrocution injuries: Construction workers often must work around live electrical wiring, as well as electrified equipment. If they accidentally make contact with a live wire or system, they can easily be electrocuted.
- Stuck-in/between injuries: These sorts of injuries occur when someone either gets stuck in the exposed machinery of heavy equipment, or when someone is caught under collapsing rubble. These accidents are especially common in demolition and trenching projects, where cave-ins are more likely.
Why Construction Accidents Happen
To an extent, some construction accidents are completely unavoidable, the result of working in a dangerous environment. However, many types of accidental injuries and deaths could be avoided by taking proper care and using safety equipment as intended. Unfortunately, many construction contractors and site owners will not adhere to safety requirements like they should, which can dramatically increase the risk of an accident.
What Can Be Done to Prevent Them
First and foremost, both the site and any tools intended to be used in construction should be regularly inspected before work begins. Contractors should also make sure to educate their workers in proper safety procedures, and provide them with the safety equipment they need to protect themselves. While this may not prevent all accidents, it can stop many of them, and potentially save many construction workers’ lives.
For more than 50 years, the New York lawyers at Elovich and Adell are ready to represent you in your personal injury case. Our attorneys, conveniently located in Long Beach, handle personal injury, real estate, commercial transactions, criminal defense, and labor and employment claims all across New York State. For a consultation, please call us at 516-432-6263 or visit our contact page for more information.