Construction is one of the largest industries in the United States. In fact, over 10.3 million Americans work in construction, with that number continuing to grow year after year. But although construction accounts for a large percentage of the U.S. workforce, it, unfortunately, is also one of the most dangerous.
The labor-intensive nature of construction, coupled with the use of dangerous equipment and heavy machinery, creates a high-risk environment. In this article, we will share some alarming statistics on construction injuries, detail the top 10 hazards found on Ohio construction sites, and discuss what to do if you or a loved one is injured on the job.
To learn more about your legal options following a construction site injury, reach out to Ohio’s top construction accident lawyers at Slater & Zurz. Call (888) 534-4850 today to arrange your FREE, no-obligation consultation and take the first step toward getting the compensation you deserve.
Construction Accident Statistics
Construction is widely known as one of the most dangerous fields, and its risks are not without merit. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 1,000 construction workers die yearly from work-related accidents. One in 50 workers is forced to miss work due to injuries sustained while on the job. Additionally, OSHA estimates that one in five worker fatalities were in the construction industry.
Top 10 Construction Site Dangers
The potential dangers and circumstances that can lead to a serious injury on construction sites are nearly endless. However, below are the top 10 hazards that construction workers must contend with every day.
According to the CDC, falls account for one in every three construction-related fatalities. Some common causes of these accidents include unmarked or open ledges, wall openings, unstable or improperly guarded scaffolding, and poorly constructed or missing handrails. Another leading cause of injury is ladder falls. Falls from ladders account for nearly 25,000 injuries annually and an average of 40 deaths in the construction industry. These can result from the following:
- Using the wrong type of ladder
- Improper training on ladder safety
- Exceeding a ladder’s maximum load capacity
- Using a damaged ladder
- Performing electrical work on a metal ladder
Constantly navigating around equipment, cords, and debris can often lead to slipping accidents. Trips are also common on construction sites and cause thousands of injuries each year. Our Ohio construction accident attorneys have handled many slip-and-fall accidents resulting from poor lighting, sloped walkways, and uneven surfaces. We have also seen slip and fall cases caused by items and substances found on site, such as:
- Grease or oil
- Plastic wrapping
- Dust, dirt, and gravel
- Cords, wires, and cables
3. Falling Debris
Falling construction material or debris is the second most common type of construction accident. Equipment, tools, pieces of scaffolding, and building materials can cause serious injury when they fall or are thrown from a significant height. Falling debris not only injures construction workers. It is also common for pedestrians and others in close proximity to a construction site to be injured by falling materials.
4. Machinery Accidents
Construction involves the use of dangerous and heavy equipment, posing a serious risk of injury to workers in the industry. Construction workers regularly operate machinery, such as bulldozers, jackhammers, nail guns, drills, and saws, all of which can cause serious injury.
Construction workers are at high risk of electrical shocks or electrocution while on the job. Exposed wires, downed or overhead power lines, unfinished electrical systems, improper wiring or use of extension cords, inadequate ground-fault protection, and defective tools commonly lead to electrocution accidents.
6. Fires, Burns, and Explosions
Construction accidents involving fire and explosions often sadly lead to devastating and often fatal injuries. Faulty or exposed wiring, combustible fuel, improper use of explosives, and compromised gas lines are common causes of on-site fires and explosions. These accidents are made even worse when the proper protective equipment and fire extinguishers are not provided.
7. Trench or Ground Collapses
Also known as “cave-ins,” trench collapses pose a great risk to the lives of many construction workers, especially those working on underground utilities and site-work construction. When trenches aren’t constructed properly or adequately supported, the trench walls can collapse, burying or crushing workers as a result.
8. Crane and Forklift Accidents
Most of us are aware of just how dangerous cranes can be, as we have seen harrowing videos of crane accidents on TV. However, forklifts pose a similar risk of danger to construction workers. Crane and forklift accidents can be a result of the following:
- Unstable loads
- Unsecured cargo
- Operator error
- Equipment malfunction
- Cables that break or snap
- Crane arm collapse
9. Vehicle Accidents
In nearly 50% of all struck-by construction accidents, the workers were struck by vehicles. These types of accidents often occur when the driver or operator of a car, truck, or forklift is unaware of the worker’s presence and backs over them. Vehicle accidents are also prevalent on road construction sites when drivers don’t take the proper precautions and hit roadway workers.
10. Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals
Construction workers are often exposed to toxic chemicals. Hazardous substances commonly found on construction sites include:
- Carbon monoxide
- Industrial cleaning agents
- Insulation materials
What You Can Do If You Were Injured on a Construction Site
Sustaining severe injuries while on the job can be a frightening and stressful experience. Trying to recover from your injuries so you can return to work – and your way of life – can be extremely overwhelming, especially when your family depends on your ability to make a living.
You may be aware that you can receive some financial relief by filing a workers’ compensation claim. But in certain cases, you can also seek full compensation for your past and future losses by filing an Ohio construction accident injury claim. Damages you may be entitled to include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Lost past and future income
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional trauma
- Diminished quality of life
- Wrongful death damages (if you lost a loved one in a construction accident)
We recommend speaking to a qualified construction accident attorney in Ohio to determine whether to seek additional damages beyond your workers’ compensation benefits.
Liable Parties in Ohio Construction Accident Cases
Their workers’ compensation insurance policy often protects employers. However, there are situations in which an employer might be liable for additional damages. In addition, injured workers can also seek compensation when their accident was caused by third parties, including but not limited to:
- General contractors
- Equipment manufacturers
- Building owners
Consult With an Experienced Construction Accident Lawyer in Ohio
A construction site is a hectic work environment. Multiple crews, powerful machinery, and countless hazards pose a danger to workers on any given day. If you sustained a construction injury, you do have options. Our Columbus construction accident lawyers are here to discuss the details of what happened, review your rights and options, and devise a plan of action to ensure you receive the compensation you need to recover from your injuries and compensate for your losses. Call (888) 534-4850 today to arrange a FREE consultation with a qualified personal injury attorney at Slater & Zurz. We have offices across Ohio to serve you, including Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo and are available 24/7.