Construction workers have a highly dangerous job.
There were 144 worker deaths in 2015/16 deaths due to construction site accidents, accounting for more than 18 percent of all on-the-job fatalities that year. Additionally, statistics show that four in every 100 construction workers is non-fatally injured on the job annually.
These staggering numbers reflect a very high-risk work environment. Surrounded by building materials, tools, and machinery, construction workers can find themselves facing hazards at any given moment. The most common construction site accidents include:
1. Falls from high heights or scaffolding – Construction workers are often required to work at very high heights, on scaffolding and ladders, in windows and on roofs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these accidents account for 34 percent of all on-the-job deaths of construction workers.
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2. Slips and falls – From stray tools and materials to uneven ground or holes, there are many hazards on a construction site that could lead to a dangerous slip, trip, or fall.
3. Electrocutions – Due to the fact that construction sites are a work in progress, there is often exposed wiring, power lines, and unfinished electrical systems around. Coming in contact with these could lead to electrocution or shock.
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4. Falling debris, materials or objects – On projects with multiple levels, it is common for falling tools, building materials, or beams to strike workers below.
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5. Getting caught in-between objects or materials – Construction sites are filled with heavy machinery, tools, and materials. Often, workers find themselves stuck in between immovable objects, machinery, or fallen debris.
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6. Fires and explosions – Because of unfinished piping, leaking gases, and incomplete electrical systems, fires and explosions are a common occurrence on construction sites.
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7. Overexertion – Hours of hard labour, often in extremely hot or humid conditions, can cause workers to overexert themselves and even fall victim to heat stroke.
8. Machinery accidents – Construction workers use a lot of heavy machinery in their work. From cranes and bulldozers to jackhammers and nail guns, an error or accident with these tools can be very dangerous.
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9. Getting hit by a vehicle – Construction sites are often located near or adjacent to roads or highways. At times, drivers can be distracted by the work, and if a driver is not looking or it is dark out, it is possible for a worker to get hit by a passing vehicle or truck
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10. Trench collapses – Trenches are often a necessity on construction sites. If a trench collapses while a worker is inside, it could cause them to be hit with tools, machinery, or materials or bury them in the surrounding dirt.
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Unfortunately, when construction workers are injured, it not only affects their health and livelihood, it poses a challenge for their family as well. On-the-job injuries can lead to expensive medical bills and treatments, as well as lost income and earning ability if the injury keeps the victim away from work. Families can find themselves in very dire financial circumstances if they’re not careful.