Major Causes of a Construction Accident
A construction accident is common among construction workers. The construction industry is littered with lots of dangerous working conditions that pose danger to the health and life of construction workers.
According to a report by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), construction accidents accounted for over 20 percent of 3,929 worker fatalities.
And in 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded a total number of 774 construction accident related deaths.
The alarming rate of accidents in the construction industry is solely due to the unsafe work environment. Construction workers are exposed to harsh working conditions. They are surrounded by tools, chemicals, and machinery that could cause accidents and consequently deaths.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration noted that a construction accident and construction-related injuries are usually caused by four fatal factors. The fatal four include falls, being struck by objects, electrocutions, and being caught between objects.
Due to the high mortality rate in the construction industry, several laws have been enacted to help keep construction workers safe. These laws require employers to provide a workplace free from hazards. Employers are also instructed to establish a good hazard communication program. They need to ensure that safe tools and equipment are made readily available to their employees.
Although the law varies with states, any employer who comes short of these standards, should a construction accident occur, will be held in contempt to pay for damages.
What is a Construction Accident?
Construction accidents are basically injuries or damages sustained during general construction activities. They include, but are not limited to building, repairs, demolishing, cleaning, and improvement in a specific facility.
Types of Construction Accidents
Construction-related injuries can be grouped into two different types.
Construction accidents involving construction workers
The primary type of construction-related injuries usually involves construction workers and other parties affiliated with the construction project. This type of construction accidents usually occurs on site, that is within the facility.
Construction accidents involving citizens unaffiliated with the project
Another type of construction accident exists. This involves construction-related injuries sustained by citizens unaffiliated with the project. It doesn’t necessarily occur in the facility. Any construction related damages done to citizens living far or near the construction facility are also known as construction accidents.
What Are The Major Causes Of a Construction Accident?
Some of the common causes of construction accidents include:
- Falls: a great percentage of construction-related accidents can be attributed to falls. According to an OSHA report, falls accounted for about 36 percent of construction-related fatalities recorded in 2012. This is a common reason for construction-related accidents because most construction workers are required to work at very high heights.
- Struck by objects: according to the report, about 78 construction workers died in 2012 as a result of being struck by an object. Due to their work environment, there is a high probability of tools or building materials to fall on construction workers.
- Electrocution: electrocution accounted for over 9 percent of construction-related accidents in 2013. This is according to the report by OSHA. Electrocution is common in construction sites as these sites are usually work in progress. Thus, unfinished electrical systems exposed wiring, and power lines are bound to be in the vicinity.
- Being caught in between objects or materials: construction sites are littered with heavy machinery and tools. Sometimes unsuspecting workers find themselves caught between these tools or machines.
- Fires an explosion: this is yet another common cause of construction accidents. Due to the fact that construction sites are work in progress, there are bound to be unfinished piping, leaking gases, and incomplete electrical systems that could lead to a fire outbreak.
Health Conditions Related to Construction Accidents
- Spinal cord injury
- Amputated limbs
- Long-term impairment
- Back or neck injuries
- Brain injury
- Scarring and
Claimable Damages for Construction Accidents
The alarming rate of fatalities associated with the construction industry necessitated some rules and regulations that were enacted to protect construction workers. Employers are obligated to provide a safe work environment and safe working tools and equipment for their employees. Any construction accident that occurs due to the negligence of employers is chargeable under the law. Such affected construction workers are eligible to file for damage claims like workers’ compensation and long-term benefits or lump-sum settlements. The compensation would cover the medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost income.
What to Do When a Construction Accident Happens
Victims of construction-related accidents – both construction workers and citizens unaffiliated to the project – are advised to immediately get medical attention. They need to document and report the injury to their employers or construction site managers. After that, they should go ahead and gather contact info for witness, and seek an attorney who is capable of evaluating their potential claims.