The latest data published by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from 2019 shows that 1,102 construction workers died on the job that year. That year’s data shows that construction workers’ fatality rates have been steadily climbing over the past few years.
Many workers who suffer disabling injuries or die because of heavy equipment that is commonplace on construction sites. Cranes, bulldozers, excavators and backhoes are some of the many pieces of heavy equipment that can maim or kill. It’s important that you know the dangers that each of them poses.
Heavy equipment that often leaves construction workers hurt
The BLS data shows that cranes are the most dangerous type of heavy equipment on a construction site. That’s been true for over two decades. Their instability is what renders them so unsafe. It’s not uncommon for cranes to lose their loads, falling atop anyone down below.
Dump trucks are another dangerous type of heavy equipment. They are often involved in struck-by incidents. Workers often drop their loads without first checking to see if anyone is nearby, thus crushing them underneath. It’s also possible for the truck’s hydraulic hoses to malfunction, causing the bed to suddenly crash down, crushing workers underneath.
Excavators, bulldozers and backhoes are also dangerous — often for similar reasons. An operator who lifts this equipment’s arm too high may strike power lines, which can electrocute them. Each of these machines also has protruding, sharp and rigid metal parts. Their operators commonly strike others with their plates, buckets or shovels. These pieces of heavy equipment may also become unstable on some surfaces. This can cause them to flip over, crushing the operator under it.
What can you do if a heavy equipment injury changed your life?
Construction companies must train their staff on how to use heavy equipment safely. They also have a responsibility to maintain the machinery in good condition. Your colleagues should be held accountable for exercising good judgment when operating this equipment. You might have a valid claim if someone’s negligence resulted in you getting hurt.