Construction workers have a difficult job in an environment that is not always safe. While many companies do their best to protect their workers, injuries still occur.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) notes that out of the 4,693 workplace fatalities in the private sector in 2016, 991 were in the construction industry. This amounts to a little over one in five fatalities.
Common injuries in construction
For these employees, what are the most common injuries they may face? OSHA identifies the “Fatal Four”, which are the leading causes of work-related deaths in private sector construction and in total caused 63.7 percent of construction worker deaths in 2016:
- Struck by object
- Caught-in/between – which includes when workers are killed when caught-in or compressed by equipment or other objects, and those who are struck, caught or crushed in a collapsing structure, equipment or material
Of these four, falls were the most dangerous, accounting for 38.7 percent of total construction deaths. Being struck by an object was number two at 9.4 percent. Even if the accident isn’t immediately fatal, both types of accidents could cause a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that could lead to death in the days, weeks or months afterward if left untreated.
If construction companies could eliminate these four types of accidents, OSHA estimates that it would save 631 workers’ lives every year. Employees can wear protective gear and be aware of their surroundings, but companies also have a duty to provide a safe environment for employees. If they don’t, a construction worker’s loved ones have the right to seek compensation.