What You Should Know About Construction’s Most Dangerous Hazards
The construction industry is one of the most dangerous professions in the country. Over 1,000 construction workers lose their lives each year to preventable hazards. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has compiled a list of the industry’s leading causes of fatality known as the “fatal four.”
At Siegel & Coonerty LLP, we provide dedicated legal representation for individuals who have been injured or killed in construction actions throughout New York. We have obtained many multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients, including an over $11.9 million verdict for a construction worker who fell from scaffolding, resulting in a traumatic brain injury.
OSHA’s Fatal Four
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, there were 4,764 workers killed on the job in 2020. This means that a worker died every 111 minutes from a work-related injury in 2020.
The four leading causes of construction site deaths are:
- – Falls
- – Struck by object
- – Electrocutions
- – Caught-in/Between
Research indicates that the “fatal four” account for around 60% of construction worker fatalities. Preventing these deadly hazards would save hundreds of lives each year.
On average, over 35% of construction site fatalities result from falls. Despite these statistics, fall protection in the construction industry continues to be the most frequently cited OSHA standard violation. A failure to follow state and federal safety guidelines results in countless construction accidents every year. The following are the most common types of falls:
- – Falls from step-stools, ladders, scaffolds, sidewalk sheds, baker scaffolds, ramps, and any other type of elevated platform. Oftentimes these platforms are not safe because they are unguarded, unlevel, collapse, move, or have missing parts.
- – Falls into holes, trenches, off the side of buildings or improperly guarded edges. These falls can occur from the lack of safety railings, coverings, and/or personal safety equipment such as harnesses, lanyards, yo’yo’s and anchor points.
Struck by Object
Approximately 10% of construction workers are killed annually due to being struck by an object or equipment. As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 468 workers were killed as a result of being struck by an object in 2020.
Types of “struck by object” accidents include:
- – Struck by powered non-transport vehicle.
- – Struck by falling object or equipment, oftentimes while being hoisted or lowered.
- – Struck by discharged or flying object.
Employers are routinely cited for failing to adequately secure and guard heavy machinery that is common to construction sites.
Electrocutions are believed to be the cause of 7-9% of construction worker deaths each year. Insufficient training and a failure to follow proper safety protocols are generally to blame for these fatal accidents.
Finally, an estimated 5-6% of construction site fatalities occur because an employee becomes caught in or stuck between two objects. Examples of caught-in/between hazards include collapsing structures or equipment, unguarded running machinery, and material that traps or pins an employee.
Hiring the Right Construction Accident Attorney
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a construction accident, it is strongly recommended that you retain legal counsel. At Siegel & Coonerty LLP, we are compassionate advocates for our clients, vigorously defending their right to compensation.
Contact our office today at 646-960-8195 to speak directly with an experienced, highly-qualified lawyer. We do not give up on you or your case until our sense of justice is served.