Craig Rosenbaum | May 10, 2023 | Construction Accidents
Almost every aspect of the job of a construction worker is dangerous, from the job site itself to the equipment and tools in use. In fact, construction workers suffer more fatal workplace accidents than employees of any other occupation.
Of course, some tools and equipment are more dangerous than others at a construction site. Accidents involving the equipment detailed below are either more likely to injure you or more likely to produce a fatal injury.
OSHA’s Fatal Four
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for workplace safety. It has identified construction accidents as one of its areas of emphasis, given the construction industry’s dismal safety record. Since 2012, the construction industry has consistently led all industries in the total number of worker deaths.
Over 65% of construction fatalities result from just four types of accidents, referred to as the “Fatal Four”:
- “Caught in/between”
- “Struck by”
Many of the most dangerous tools and equipment are used directly in situations that lead to the Fatal Four, and are as follows:
Ladders and Scaffolding
Falls from heights are the most common construction site accidents. Roughly 35% of accidents involve a fall from one level to another, and ladders and scaffolding are involved in many of these accidents.
While they are often used safely, damaged ladders or improperly constructed scaffolding can collapse under a worker’s weight, causing traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries.
Motor vehicles are an often-overlooked safety hazard on construction sites, but that is, in fact, what makes them dangerous. Work trucks and personal vehicles can impede work progress, and they knock over structures, equipment, building materials, or even workers themselves.
In addition, trucks hauling equipment, materials, and workers to job sites can get into collisions just like other commuter vehicles. These accidents can fracture bones and tear soft tissues.
Excavating and Construction Vehicles
Roughly 5.8% of construction accidents involve workers caught in or between objects. Construction vehicles have limited visibility. As a result, some construction accidents happen when vehicles, like cement trucks, back into workers, pinning them under the equipment or trapping them between the vehicle and another object. Excavators can also inadvertently bury workers in trenches or pits or push mounds onto workers.
Nearly 17% of construction accidents occur when a construction worker is struck by something, and cranes are responsible for many of these accidents.
Crane accidents can happen when a load is improperly secured or when the straps used to secure the crane’s load break. Regardless of the cause, the load can fall onto workers, severely or even fatally injuring them.
In addition, a crane operator can become careless while moving a load, or wind and other environmental conditions cause the load to swing out of control. In either case, the worker may get knocked over or even crushed by the swinging load.
Many work sites do not have electrical service, so construction workers bring their own electricity source by way of a generator.
Despite their convenience, generators pose several dangers. First, they operate on combustible fuels, like diesel fuel, gasoline, or propane. Any accident or spill can cause the fuel to ignite.
In addition, generators also pose a risk of electrocution. About 7.6% of construction accidents involve electrocution. The electrical current produced by a generator can seriously injure a worker if the generator or the extension cords become damaged or frayed, respectively.
Pneumatic tools, like paint sprayers and nail guns, operate on compressed air and propel objects at great speeds, which can pierce your skin or eyes. Additionally, air compressors can explode if the regulator or tank gets damaged.
Compensation for Injuries Caused by Dangerous Tools and Equipment on Construction Sites
If you sustain an injury as a result of a construction site accident by your tools or equipment, you will likely be entitled to workers’ compensation. You may also have a solid third-party claim to bring against the equipment manufacturer if the tool in question was defective.