Fall Injuries at Construction Sites
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that around 252,000 construction sites are scattered throughout the U.S. and more than 6 million people are working at these sites. Although OSHA requires employers to protect their employees from work-related injuries by implementing an effective safety program, employee injuries and fatalities at construction sites in the U.S. remain high.
Construction Site Injuries Statistics
OSHA is the government program responsible for creating and enforcing the protective workplace health, and safety standards that employers are required to follow: Unfortunately, in the construction industry, these regulations may be overlooked, substantially increasing the likelihood of a bad construction accident.
The most common construction injuries occur due to:
In the construction industry, falls from high levels are responsible for the most employee fatalities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2015 there were 937 construction fatalities and 350 of those employee deaths occurred due to this type of fall.
Some factors that contribute to these falls include:
- Failure to use fall prevention and protection equipment
- Incorrectly using fall prevention and protection equipment
- Unbalanced work surfaces
- Human error
Falls from Ladders and Stairways in the Construction Industry
The BLS states that in 2015 more than 150 of the workplace fatalities that occurred were due to ladder-related incidents: In addition, there were over 20,000 nonfatal employee injuries associated with ladder-related incidents (among all industries). Citations related to ladder violations rank seventh on OSHA’s annual ‘Top 10’ list of the most cited violations. In 2016, OSHA reported almost 3,000 violations that involved ladders.
Some of the top ladder violations included:
- Using a ladder for purposes for which it was not designed
- Portable ladder access
- Carrying objects while climbing a ladder
- Structural defects
- Using the ladder’s top step
According to OSHA’s estimations relating to the source of fatalities and injuries among those working within the construction industry, nearly 25,000 injuries occur, with up to 36 fatalities each year due to falls related to ladders, and stairways. Approximately 50 percent of those injured in this manner required that the employee takes some time off work.
If scaffolds are misused or erected incorrectly, a fall hazard exists. Nearly 2.3 million construction workers regularly use scaffolds. Each year, there are approximately 50 fatalities and 4,500 injuries associated with scaffolds.
Other reasons for employee injuries and fatalities include:
- Trench collapse
- Careless operation of equipment
- Injuries due to repetitive motion
- Failure to utilize personal protective equipment
- Electric shock (arc blast/arc flash)
An On-the-Job Fall Injury: What Employees Need to Know
After sustaining an on-the-job injury, steps must be taken to ensure the injured employee receives the medical care and time-loss compensation he or she is entitled to. A construction accident lawyer with experience representing employees who have been injured on the job in Long Island, can assist the employees as they weave through the legal system in New York.
The Construction Industry’s Fatal Four
In 2016, one in five of employees killed in the private industry worked in construction. The BLS reports that the most common causes of death in this industry (apart from highway collisions) were electrocutions, being struck by an object, caught-in/between and falls. These four categories are referred to as the ‘Fatal Four’ because they are usually responsible for the most deaths in the construction industry. In 2016, more than 60 percent of employee deaths in the construction industry occurred due to injuries caused by one of the Fatal Four.
Construction Injury Statistics: The Fatal Four
Fatal Four categories ranked by percentage of deaths in 2016:
- Falls – 38.7 percent
- Being hit by an object – 9.4 percent
- Electrocutions – 8.3 percent
- Caught- in/between – 7.3 percent
Caught-in/between refers to workers who were killed after being compressed by or caught-in objects, or equipment: In addition, caught-in/between is the category used for workers who were killed after being caught, struck or crushed by a collapsing structure, material, or piece of equipment.
The construction industry’s fatal injury rate is above the national average and, when compared to all the other industries, it ranks the highest in this category. OSHA states that by eliminating the Fatal Four, more than 600 American workers’ lives could be saved annually. Following OSHA’s recommendations to implement a safety program can reduce the number of lives lost and people injured in the construction industry: It is these human factors in construction safety that must be overcome.
If you are a construction worker and you have sustained injuries while working, we can help.. As your workplace injury attorney, we will make sure that you receive the medical care you deserve, as well as the lost wages you are entitled to.
In addition, if you have sustained permanent injuries, we will work towards securing you a Loss of Use Award. Furthermore, if you have lost someone due to a fatal construction accident, please consider seeking legal representation. As experienced workplace injury attorneys, we know the laws as well as the tactics insurance companies frequently use in their attempts to deny payment. Please contact The Law Office of Siler & Ingber LLP today, and schedule your free case review.