Construction Job site Accidents
Construction job sites are dangerous places to work. In 2017, 20.7% of worker fatalities were in construction. The leading causes, also known as the ‘fatal four’, were falls, struck by object, electrocution and caught-in/between and were responsible for more than half of the construction worker deaths that year.
Many of the accidents on a construction job site are due to negligence, unsafe worksite practices, improper use of tools and equipment, and lack of protective safeguards.
Construction worker climbing scaffolding.
Most common construction job site accidents
- Falls from heights are one of the most common types of accidents and include scaffolding accidents, ladder accidents, roofing accidents, crane accidents and other falls from heights. Scaffolding accidents, for instance, can be caused by improper construction or negligent maintenance; ladders may be defective or improperly maintained.
- Struck-by objects account for 8.2% of worker deaths in construction. This includes objects that are falling, flying, swinging or rolling that could injure a worker. Proper training and knowing how to use the equipment and machinery can help prevent accidents of this type.
- Electrocutions account for 7,3% of worker fatalities. This happens when the person, tool or equipment comes into contact with power lines or exposed electrical sources. Workers may not be aware of all energized power sources, from overhead and underground power lines to damaged receptacles and connectors.
- Caught-between accidents account for 5.1% of worker deaths in construction. These are accidents where a worker’s body part is caught, crushed or squeezed between two or more objects that happens as a result of collapsing materials, body parts pulled into unguarded machinery and equipment rollovers.
- Crane or hoist accidents and forklift accidents (heavy machinery). Construction job sites have lots of heavy machinery (graders, dump trucks, backhoes, etc.) needed to complete the work. Accidents can be caused by malfunctioning or defective parts and equipment, lack of training, operator error and other factors, leading to very serious accidents and fatalities.
- Gas leaks, fires and explosions. Construction job sites often contain hazardous chemicals and/or hazardous conditions such as exposed wiring, leaking pipes and flammable chemicals that can lead to fires and explosions.
- Trench accidents. Should a trench collapse or an accident occur within a trench, construction workers can be trapped making it difficult to get them out.
There are many other types of accidents that occur on the construction job site; these are just examples of what could happen.
Construction accident injuries range from minor to life-threatening and fatal.
- Cuts or lacerations from exposed nails, tools, machinery, etc.
- Broken or fractured bones
- Head or traumatic brain injuries often happen after a fall
- Amputation of a finger, toe, or limb
- Eye injuries or loss of vision from shrapnel, dangerous chemicals or gases, etc.
- Loss of hearing from the loud noises on construction sites or failure to wear hearing protection
- Paralysis and other spinal cord injuries, especially from falls
- Toxic exposure to chemicals
- Burns from fires, explosions, or electrocutions
Safety Considerations for Construction Job Sites
- Use caution around fall hazards. Safety systems should be in place to prevent falls, which might include guardrails, safety nets, safety cords and personal fall arrest systems.
- Never use damaged equipment. Always check your equipment before going out on the job site. You might find a worn-out cable, worn-out cords or other cracks and tears that could lead to serious accidents.
- Check equipment before getting in and out. That means checking boot and gloves for slippery substances, getting a secure foot or hand hold before climbing up. Use caution when climbing on and off equipment.
- Know what personal protective equipment to wear. What you wear will be dependent upon the job you are doing. Be sure that it fits well, too.
- Be careful when loading or unloading equipment. Ramps should be straight and cleared. Have another worker spot you. Use proper tie-down procedures.
- Ladder and stairs climbing hazards. Be sure to inspect a ladder or stairs before stepping on them. Check for damaged, loose, worn, weak and other broken spots. Keep them clean, uncluttered and dry. Make sure you are using the proper ladder for the job..
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Construction job sites often times have multiple companies doing different parts of the work. They may not be aware of you. Other dangers to be aware of are falling objects and getting run over or hit by some of the heavy machinery.
- Reinforce safety at all times
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