Every year, many construction workers are injured or even lose their life in the workplace. The severity of these accidents can vary significantly, as can their causes. However, there are four types of injuries that occur the most regularly, as discussed below.
This is the most common accident of all and it happens with power lines. These can be buried or overhead, but they are all hazardous due to their high voltage. Electrocution can be lethal, but so can the falls from electrical poles, and the electrical burns people suffer. Another reason why accidents happen is because workers do not use the equipment properly. For instance, they may use indoor equipment outside.
Falls are the type of accident that is most likely to lead to death in the construction industry. In fact, one third of all deaths in the industry are caused by falls. The most common situations leading to falls include:
- Improper construction of scaffolding towers.
- Unprotected floor and side holes that don’t have personal fall arrest systems or safety nets installed.
- Misuses of portable ladders, including not securing or positioning it properly.
- Protruding steel rebars that are not guarded, which leads to impalement when someone falls.
It is for good reason that scaffolding has to be erected under competent supervision.
A leading cause of death in the construction industry is ‘struck-by objects’. In 75% of these cases, heavy equipment was involved, including cranes and trucks. 25% of deaths caused by someone getting struck by a vehicle happen I the construction industry. Forklifts also lead to many accidents, as do flying and falling objects underneath cranes and scaffolding towers.
Excavation and Trenching Accidents
Some would say that performing excavations or otherwise working in trenches is the most dangerous of all construction jobs. The fatality rate in this industry is 112% higher than that in any other part of the construction industry. Every year, around two people die in Washington State alone as a result of this. One of the reasons for this is because they are buried in soil, which leads to either drowning or asphyxiation. Piles of excavated materials frequently slip, leading to very serious, often fatal accidents.
Every day, someone gets hurt in a construction accident somewhere in the country. All construction workers, just like all other workers, have a right to work in a safe environment. However, construction work is hazardous by its very nature. This is why employers and employees alike both carry responsibilities for safety within the industry. While it is the employer’s job, for instance, to have a qualified person erect scaffolding, workers still have to take personal responsibility and perform daily checks and risk assessments. Similarly, while it is the employer’s role to provide workers with suitable protective equipment, it is the employee’s role to actually use this as directed.
Safety has to come first and everybody is responsible for making sure it remains the top priority.