The construction industry is more dangerous than we thought. According to a November 2020 study published by Industrial Safety & Hygiene News (I.S.H.N.), approximately 50 percent of all fatal workplace accidents are connected to construction jobs. Researchers evaluated the cause and prevalence of fatal injuries across 263 professions using data produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on annual job fatalities in 2018. Of the 263 professions evaluated, 25 occupations were responsible for the bulk of all fatal injuries recorded in the country— 12 of which involved construction type work.
Our team of construction accident attorneys at Siler & Ingber has represented the best interests of workers across New York City and Long Island for over 20 years. As committed advocates, we believe in the power of educating workers on dangerous trends in the industry that could put them in harm’s way. This article reviews the most common causes of fatal accidents affecting the construction industry and which jobs are putting workers at the most risk every day.
Common Causes of Fatal Construction Accidents
Construction has held a reputation as a deadly industry for decades. According to the National Safety Council, construction was categorized as the deadliest major industry in 2019, skyrocketing past industries such as government jobs, agriculture, forestry, transportation, and warehousing in fatal injuries.
There have notoriously been four types of construction accidents responsible for nearly all workplace fatalities, also known as the Fatal Four:
- Falls (from heights or caused by other hazards on the worksite);
- Struck by objects (tools, machinery, equipment, or falling objects);
- Electrocutions; and
- Caught in-between (materials, machinery, equipment).
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has long predicted that preventing these four accidents would save the lives of at least 631 workers every year. Sadly, all of the most dangerous construction jobs are still suffering from an influx of Fatal Four accidents.
12 Most Dangerous Construction Jobs
Each profession evaluated in the I.H.S.N. study was assigned a fatal injury rate based on 100,000 workers using B.L.S. occupational fatality records from 2018. Across the 25 most dangerous jobs, the average fatality rate was 2.9 fatalities per 100,000 workers for wage and salary workers and 9.4 for self-employed individuals.
The 12 most dangerous jobs related to the construction industry include the following:
- Derrick Operators = 20 deaths (46 per 100,000)
This category includes derrick, rotary drill, and service unit operators in gas, mining, and oil. The most common fatal accidents involve transportation incidents and contact with objects and equipment.
- Roofers = 96 deaths (41 per 100,000)
This category includes workers repair, replace, and install roofs in residential and commercial settings. The most common fatal accidents involve falls from heights (roofs and ladders), slips, and trips.
- Ironworkers= 15 deaths(29 per 100,000)
This category includes structural iron and steel workers responsible for installing materials on buildings, bridges, and roads. The most common fatal accidents involve falls, slips, and trips.
- Crane Operators= 9 deaths (19 per 100,000)
This category includes crane and tower operators responsible for operating and using equipment to lift materials, machines, or other objects on site. The most common fatal accidents involve transportation incidents and contact with objects and equipment, particularly cranes.
- Construction Helpers= 11 deaths (18 per 100,000)
This category includes workers who help trade workers on construction sites in areas such as building finishing, building equipment, and foundation and exteriors contractors. The most common fatal accidents involve falls, slips, and trips.
- Landscaping Supervisors= 48 deaths (18 per 100,000)
This category includes workers who are first-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping, often managing projects, enforcing standards, training employees, and inspecting work. The most common fatal accidents involve falls (from heights), slips, and trips.
- Highway Maintenance Workers= 14 deaths (18 per 100,000)
This category includes workers responsible for maintaining structures such as freeways, highways, roads, runways, and other travel infrastructure. The most common fatal accidents involve transportation incidents, including vehicle crashes on active roadways.
- Cement Masons= 11 deaths (17 per 100,000)
This category includes workers classified as cement masons, terrazzo workers, or concrete finishers. The most common fatal accidents involve falls, slips, and trips.
- Grounds Maintenance Workers= 225 deaths (14 per 100,000)
This category includes workers responsible for maintaining parks, residences, and businesses, including grasses, lawns, and other tasks. The most common fatal accidents involve transportation incidents, particularly when employees are traveling between job sites.
- Maintenance Workers= 64 deaths (14 per 100,000)
This category includes workers responsible for routine maintenance of machines and buildings (homes, apartments, businesses), including electrical and plumbing. The most common fatal accidents involve contact with objects and equipment.
- General Construction Workers= 259 deaths (13 per 100,000)
This category includes workers responsible for physical labor tasks, including building scaffolding, unloading materials, digging trenches, and operating machinery. The most common fatal accidents involve falls (from heights and hazards), slips, and trips.
- Mining Machine Operators= 9 deaths (11 per 100,000)
This category includes workers responsible for removing and loading rock, metals, coal, and other hard materials from a mine and transporting them to the next destination. The most common fatal accidents involve contact with objects and equipment.
New York City and Long Island Workplace Accident Lawyers
Our personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Siler & Ingber have over 20 years of experience serving injured workers across New York City and Long Island. We protect your rights by maximizing recovery and securing the financial support our clients need to succeed on their road to recovery. Our winning attorneys know how to navigate through the claim process using our past experience as insurance defense attorneys. We are not afraid to fight and are fully prepared to take your case to trial to get a justified verdict over settling for less.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a work-related accident, our team at Siler & Ingber is here to help. With a 98% success rate, we have the experience and the know-how to help our clients achieve a favorable outcome. Contact us today at 1-877-529-4343, or schedule an appointment online anytime. We never charge a fee unless we recover money for you.