Construction sites are known to be a dangerous place to be – it is where we get the popular notion of putting on a hard hat.
Most construction companies are careful to keep their workers safe, but the nature of assembling large buildings lends itself to danger. Tools, girders and large vehicles all present hazards on construction sites.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 775 deaths at building sites in 2012. This represents 19.6 percent of all workplace deaths during that year.
Falls, not surprisingly, were the most common cause of death for construction workers during that year, according to OSHA. A total of 278 workers fell to their deaths in 2012, according to the agency. This is 36 percent of all construction deaths during that period of time.
About ten percent of fatalities at building locations were the results of workers being struck by objects. OSHA reports 78 people being killed in that manner. Many were also killed by “caught in-between” accidents, were workers died after being caught between two objects.
The third most-common cause of death at construction sites was electrocution, which resulted in 66 deaths during the period studied. That number was nine percent of total fatalities at construction sites.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports the most common violation of federal regulations involves protection from falls. Communication systems to warn workers of hazards were the second most common violation found by the federal agency. Inadequate safety on scaffolding complete the top-three most common violations, reports OSHA.
In addition to these causes of construction site fatalities, there are several other hazards which frequently cause accidents.
Falling debris and tools are not uncommon at building sites. From several stories up, even a hammer can cause significant damage to an unfortunate person standing under the plummeting tool. Heavier and larger items can do even more damage, and cause fatalities on the work site.
Fire and explosions are often caused by unfinished plumbing and electrical work.
Construction workers work long, hard hours and many are tired while they are on the job, which can lead to accidents. The combination of long hours and heavy machinery can often prove deadly.
Car accidents are also a common cause of accidents on construction sites, which may not be surprising. But one leading cause of injuries to construction workers may not be that obvious, unless you work in the industry. Trenches, dug to run pipes and wires, will sometimes collapse, bringing machinery and vehicles down on top of trapped workers.
Construction is safer than ever, but it is still a hazardous industry.