Common Causes of Construction Site Accidents

Common Causes of Construction Site Accidents

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Construction sites are often considered one of the most dangerous places to work, with the potential for severe injuries or fatalities. Despite the safety regulations and guidelines implemented by government agencies, construction accidents still occur, and workers and passersby can be injured or killed.

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Iowa recorded 58 fatal work injuries in 2020. On June 2, 2022, Pablo Jesus Gomez-Garcia, 46, a construction worker, died after being pinned by a piece of equipment. Police officials from Mahaska County responded to medical distress at 5:00 pm at a bridge under construction over the North Skunk River in the 3300 block of Highway 92.

Although his fellow construction workers were able to free Mr. Gomez before the medical responders arrived, he died at the scene. His body was taken to the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy, with the Mahaska County Sheriff’s Office continuing with investigations.

Common Hazards On Construction Sites

Halfway through 2022, the construction industry employed almost eight million people in the United States, a significant increase from previous years. Some common hazards workers may encounter on construction sites include:

1. Fall From Heights

Falling at a construction site is common and a serious hazard for workers. Construction site workers may be required to work at elevated heights, such as on ladders, scaffolds, roofs, or platforms. If proper safety measures are not in place, workers may fall and suffer serious injuries or even death.

In 2020, one in five workplace deaths occurred in the construction industry, and one-third were due to slips, falls, and trips. To prevent falls from heights on construction sites, employers should ensure workers are adequately trained, provided with appropriate fall protection equipment, and the equipment is inspected regularly. 

2. Electrical Hazards

Workers may come into contact with live wires or electrical equipment that’s not correctly grounded, leading to electric shock, burns, and even electrocution.

Five people working on ladders at a three-story residence at 1488 N 1659th Road were electrocuted in Illinois. The LaSalle County Sheriff Adam Diss confirmed five construction workers working from Double L Seamless Gutters sustained electrical shock injuries from a piece of aluminum gutter. 

The gutter struck a power line, causing the electrocutions and knocking the workers down. To prevent such incidents, all electrical equipment should be well-maintained, inspected regularly, and used as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

3. Musculoskeletal Injuries

Musculoskeletal injuries affect the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, bones, and other structures that support the body. Common musculoskeletal injuries on construction sites include sprains, strains, and fractures.

Heavy lifting, repetitive motions, awkward postures, and exposure to vibrations from heavy machinery can also cause musculoskeletal injuries on construction sites. Employers should provide proper lifting techniques and ergonomics. They should also offer mechanical lifting aids such as cranes, hoists, or forklifts to reduce the need for manual lifting.

4. Motion Injuries

Also known as repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) is a common type of musculoskeletal injury present at construction sites. These injuries are caused by repeated and prolonged use of a particular muscle or group of muscles, damaging the tissues in the affected area.

Some common repetitive motion injuries on construction sites include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, trigger finger, and bursitis. Employers should encourage workers to take regular breaks and stretch to reduce muscle fatigue and tension.

5. Struck by Accident

Struck-by accidents occur when a worker is hit by a falling, flying, moving, swinging, or rolling object. These accidents can cause serious injuries or even fatalities.

Two Iowa construction workers were struck and killed by a distracted driver while on a bridge worksite in Illinois. 35-year-old Andrew Whitcomb and 20-year-old Pearson J. Franklin were setting construction barrels for work on the Great River Bridge of US Route 34 westbound, with the yellow construction lights on, when they were crashed into.

Emily Johnson, 21, was driving a 2016 Mazda CX5 when she caused the fatal crash. She was cited for Scott’s Law after the workers were pronounced dead upon arriving at the hospital.

6 Strategies to Avoid Construction Site Mishaps

Preventing construction site accidents is crucial to ensuring the safety of workers and reducing the risk of injury or death. There are several ways to prevent construction site accidents, including:

  1. Providing appropriate training: Employers should provide comprehensive training to workers on proper safety procedures, equipment use, and hazard identification.
  2. Conducting regular safety inspections: Employers should conduct regular safety inspections to identify potential hazards and address them promptly.
  3. Providing personal protective equipment: Employers should provide appropriate personal protective equipment, such as hard hats, safety glasses, and gloves, to workers.
  4. Establishing clear communication protocols: Employers should develop clear communication protocols to ensure that workers are aware of potential hazards and can report unsafe conditions.
  5. Maintaining equipment and machinery: Employers should ensure equipment and machinery are properly maintained and inspected regularly to prevent malfunctions.
  6. Implementing safety protocols: Employers should establish and enforce safety protocols, such as designated work zones and proper material handling techniques, to prevent accidents.

The Falls Campaign through the National Safety Stand-Down raises awareness of fall hazards and reinforces safe work practices, helping prevent injuries and fatalities related to construction site accidents. 

Legal Action for Construction Site Victims 

Construction site victims have legal options to pursue compensation for their injuries. Victims may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the construction company or property owner if they can prove negligence. In addition, workers who are injured on a construction site may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

These benefits can cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs. It’s essential to seek the advice of an experienced attorney specializing in construction accident cases to ensure all legal options are explored, and the victim’s rights are protected.

In April 2019, a crane fell from a construction site while being dismantled in the South Lake Union neighborhood. The site included a Google office building, and the tragic incident resulted in the loss of four lives.

As reported by ABC News, a settlement of $112 million will be awarded to the families of the individuals who died and injured in the 2019 Seattle construction site crane collapse.

Maximize Your Recovery With a Personal Injury Lawyer

Working with a personal injury lawyer can be crucial when you have suffered harm due to the negligence of another party. A personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal system and obtain the compensation you deserve for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages

They can also handle negotiations with insurance companies and other parties on your behalf, and represent you in court if necessary. Additionally, a personal injury lawyer can provide emotional support and guidance throughout the process. If involved in a construction site accident, contact us or call us at 515-444-4000 to ensure your legal rights are protected.