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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

What Type of Accident Kills the Most? – Construction Site Statistics

According to the latest report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 5,190 fatal work injuries in the United States in 2021 alone. The figure accounted for an 8.9% increase from 2020.

Construction and extraction occupations had 951 deaths, the second-highest number of fatalities in 2021.

Sadly, construction workers are highly exposed to hazards that can cause serious injuries and deaths, but what is the type of accident that kills the most in this industry? Here's what the statistics say.

What Type of Accident Kills Most Construction Workers?

What Type of Accident Kills Most Construction Workers?

Based on the latest official reports, falls kill the most construction workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that falls, slips, and trips accounted for 370 fatalities in construction and extraction occupations in 2021.

The number of deaths caused by falls, slips, and trips reported that year was 7.2% higher than the numbers reported in 2020 when 345 construction workers lost their lives in similar accidents.

Although the figure is still 9.3% down compared to the 2019 reports, where this sector had 408 fatalities, falls, slips, and trips are still the main cause of deadly accidents in construction sites.

Why Are Construction Accidents Common

Unsurprisingly, construction sites are at the top of the list when it comes to the most dangerous workplaces. Accidents are common because workers in this industry must perform their duties for long hours, using dangerous tools and operating at dizzying heights.

Many companies and contractors also fail to ensure that construction sites are safe. Moreover, they are negligent when taking safety measures or providing the right equipment. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can advise on the most common construction injuries.

What Are The Main Causes Of Accidents On Construction Sites?

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has listed the leading causes of construction worker deaths over the years.

In this regard, many ask "What are the fatal four construction accidents?" These are the leading causes of construction accidents across the United States. They're known as the "Fatal Four."

#1 Falls – Causing Around 37% of Construction Site Deaths

As mentioned, falls are the primary cause of death in construction sites, accounting for over 37% of fatalities in the industry. These are some of the common deadly accidents that may fall into this category:

  • Defective ladders

  • Improperly guarded scaffolding

  • Unguarded elevator shafts

  • Improperly constructed scaffolding

  • Debris leading to slips and falls

  • Inclement weather, especially when workers perform roofing work

  • Unmarked trenches or excavation sites

  • Unmarked or unprotected ledges, floor holes, and wall openings

#2 Struck by Object – Causing About 9% of Construction Worker Deaths

A falling object also poses serious hazards on construction sites, becoming the second most common cause of deadly workplace accidents (around 9% of deaths).

When falling downward, supplies, tools, and other heavy objects can gain fatal speeds, posing a deadly risk to anyone working on or visiting the construction site.

These accidents can include items that fall, swing, or roll and hit an individual. These are other examples:

  • Faulty construction

  • Items dropped inadvertently by other people

  • Scaffolding accidents

  • Malfunctioning cranes, hoists, and lifts

  • Unsecured loads

#3 Electrocutions – Causing around 8% of Construction Worker Fatalities

Construction workers are also highly exposed to electrocution hazards on the job site. Most are dangerous and potentially fatal. Additionally, this type of accident kills many employees in the construction industry each year, accounting for 8% of the total deaths.

Most of the time, construction workers may be at risk of being injured due to the following:

  • Direct contact with power lines

  • Faulty wiring

  • Failure to wear appropriate safety equipment and clothing

  • Insufficient or improper training

  • Miscommunication on if the equipment or a machine is drawing power

  • Defective tools and machinery

#4 Caught In/Between – Causing Around 6% of Fatal Construction Accidents

This type of workplace accident involves construction workers who are caught in, compressed, or squeezed between two machines, equipment, or objects.

Moreover, it represents around 6% of fatalities in the construction industry.

Incidents involving construction workers who are caught, crushed, or struck at collapsing structures, materials, or equipment may also fall into this category. These are other examples:

  • Machine accidents

  • Being pulled into moving machinery

  • Being caught between a stationary object and equipment

  • Trench and structure collapses

  • Being hit by moving machinery parts

  • Being caught between two pieces of equipment

What Should Construction Workers and Employees Do to Reduce Risks?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a list of safety precautions and measures that employees and employers should consider to avoid accidents caused by the "Fatal Four." These include the following:

  • Wear and use fall arrest equipment

  • Cover and secure floor openings

  • Label floor holes

  • Always employ ladders and scaffolds properly

  • Install and maintain perimeter protection

  • Avoid entering an unprotected trench

  • Do not enter an excavation (5 feet or deeper) if there is no protective system

  • Never position oneself between fixed and moving objects

  • Wear high-visibility clothes, if possible, when working near equipment and vehicles

  • Identify utilities before starting to work

  • Maintain a safe distance away from power lines

  • Look for overhead power lines when operating a machine or piece of equipment

  • Operate portable electric tools only if they are double insulated and grounded

  • Learn the safe distance requirements to prevent electrocutions

  • Be alert to hazards when working with scaffolds, ladders, and other platforms

What Can an Attorney Do If Construction Workers Suffer Fatal Occupational Injuries?

What Can an Attorney Do If Construction Workers Suffer Fatal Occupational Injuries?

Unfortunately, most construction workers are at risk of accidents, whether it's due to employer negligence, failure to follow safety recommendations, or due to industry-inherent hazards.

Accidents on construction sites can be difficult to handle. Sometimes, an injured worker cannot file a personal injury lawsuit due to local workers' compensation laws.

However, seeking legal assistance from an experienced Nashville construction accident attorney is always a good idea, especially if a worker is killed in an accident caused by the negligence or carelessness of a construction company.

Those who lose their loved ones in construction accidents can file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for lost wages, medical bills, burial and funeral costs, lost future income, lost services provided by the deceased, and more.

In some cases, victims or their family members may recover non-economic damages, such as loss of companionship, mental and emotional anguish, and pain and suffering.

Call Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys Today!

Construction accident cases require the knowledge and skills of an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Fortunately, those who have been injured or lost their loved ones in these incidents can find the help they need at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys.

Injured construction workers can call this law firm today and get a free consultation. They'll go to war for you!


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