The construction industry is riddled with hazards. The risks construction workers face can lead to serious and even fatal injuries, begging the question why the industry isn’t doing more to combat these hazards in the first place.
Whether you have worked in the construction industry for decades or a few weeks, it is vital to understand the risks in the workplace to protect yourself and your crew.
Four types of accidents cause the most fatalities for construction workers, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Understanding the most common safety hazards for construction workers can help workers, employers and safety officials all work together to make a safer workplace.
So what are the leading causes of death for construction workers? Below is a list of incidents that contribute to the most construction fatalities in the United States each year:
Falls: Statistics show that falls continue to be the most common cause of death for construction workers. Falls can happen anywhere on the job site, including falls from ladders, roofs and scaffolds. Using the right equipment, providing proper training and addressing potential hazards can help reduce falls.
Struck by object: Examples include being struck by a flying object, falling object, swinging object or rolling object. These incidents can involve heavy equipment, tools, unsecured objects and missing safety precautions. Many of these accidents can be prevented by proper training of all workers and proper maintenance of all equipment and tools.
Electrocutions: Burns, electrocution, shock, fire and explosions are all examples of electrical hazards in the construction industry that lead to serious and fatal injuries. Accidents are most likely to occur when workers are in contact with power lines and energized sources such as equipment or bare wires. Proper training and safety equipment can prevent these accidents.
Caught between objects: Workers caught in hazards contribute to fewer deaths than the other three types of accidents, but it is a serious risk that can be prevented. Examples include cave-ins during excavation work, workers pulled into machinery, being caught between equipment and fixed objects and being exposed to toxic or hazardous air. Proper training and using the right equipment can prevent this type of accident.
These hazards are not limited to the construction industry. Data shows that in addition to construction workers, individuals working in transportation, warehousing, agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, mining, quarrying, and the oil and gas industries all face these risks at work.