What Are the Most Common Types of Construction Accidents?
Although construction work is one of the most important professions in our society, it is also one of the most dangerous. Construction workers routinely work at heights and around heavy equipment, machinery, and vehicles. They must also carry heavy loads of materials and work around exposed wiring, chemicals, and other potential hazards.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the California division of OSHA (Cal/OSHA) mandate and enforce numerous regulations regarding workplace safety to prevent job-related injuries and fatalities. However, construction accidents still happen, resulting in tens of thousands of injuries and deaths each year.
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one from a construction accident, you need to consult an experienced California construction accident attorney immediately. Whether you were an employee of a construction company or a visitor to the site, an attorney can review your case and advise you on your options for getting the benefits and compensation you need to cover the costs of your medical treatment, lost wages, and other damages.
The “Fatal Four” of Construction Accidents
No matter the construction project, all workers on site can sustain injuries from any number of causes, but some construction accidents are more common than others. In fact, these construction accidents are so common, the industry dubbed them the Fatal Four:
Falls are the most common type of construction accident, accounting for around 35 percent of all construction accidents.
The two most common types of fall accidents include:
- Falls from heights occur when a worker falls from a ladder or scaffold, or off a roof or raised platform. The severity of the injuries the worker suffers depends largely on the height from which they fall, how they landed, and whether they struck other objects on the way down. In many cases, proper safety equipment, such as harnesses and netting, can prevent falls from heights.
- Slip or trip falls occur when a worker slips on wet flooring or trips over debris or other objects lying in their path. Some common hazards around construction sites include unsecured electrical cords and tools lying on the ground, as well as boards and lumber, rebar, and discarded building materials. Slip and trip falls can also cause a worker to fall from heights if they lose their footing while working off the ground.
Any fall can cause debilitating and life-threatening injuries, but falls from heights usually cause the most severe and fatal injuries.
Many construction workers suffer electrocution injuries on construction sites. Electric shock can come from exposed wiring in the building itself, overhead power lines, or electric tools. Electrical burns are the most common electrocution injuries, but electric shock can also cause cardiac arrest, nerve damage, and other severe injuries. OSHA has requirements regarding properly covering electrical devices and using proper protective equipment when working around live wiring.
Struck by Objects
Construction sites are hives of activity, with materials, equipment, workers, and vehicles constantly moving. In a struck-by-object accident, an impact occurs between a worker and an object or piece of equipment. Sources can include falling materials, a machine, or a large object moved by workers.
Construction workers and foremen should secure materials properly for storage or before moving or transporting them. They should also not stack materials so high they could topple over. Struck-by-object accidents can cause serious injuries, including crushing injuries, bone fractures, head injuries, and internal organ damage.
Caught in or Between Objects
A construction worker can get caught in or between objects. Examples include a vehicle pushing a worker against a wall or structure, or a machine grabbing and pulling in a worker’s body part, such as an arm or leg. These accidents regularly result in debilitating injuries, such as amputations and disfigurement, and can lead to severe permanent disabilities.
Common Construction Accident Injuries
Since so many hazards exist on construction sites, workers run the risk of a wide range of injuries.
The type and severity of the injury will depend on the nature of the accident, but some common construction accident injuries include:
- Broken bones and crushing injuries
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Hip and joint injuries
- Soft tissue damage
- Eye injuries
- Severe cuts
- Amputation injuries
A serious injury can damage your life in many ways. Not only must you deal with the pain and inconvenience of the injury itself, but you likely had to take time off work to recover. Depending on your injury, you may never work at all again or only in a limited capacity.
What to Do if You Suffer Injuries in a Construction Accident
If you sustain injuries in a construction accident, you must:
- Assess your injuries. If you sustained severe or life-threatening injuries, someone should call 911 immediately and report the accident. If you suffer back or head injuries, you shouldn’t try to move. Wait on emergency personnel to stabilize you for transport to the hospital. Even if your injuries are not severe, you still need to get a medical evaluation as soon as possible.
- Document the accident and your injuries. If you can move, document as much of the accident as possible, including by taking pictures of your injuries and the accident scene. You should also jot down details about the accident and what caused it while the memories remain fresh in your mind.
- Inform your manager or supervisor. Tell your employer about your injuries. You don’t need to go into detail about how the accident happened, just provide the basics.
- Call an attorney. You may have several options for obtaining compensation for your injuries. An experienced attorney can review your case, advise you of your options, and represent you throughout the process. A lawyer can also assert your rights and protect you from predatory insurance company behavior and get you the best results possible.
Contact an Experienced California Construction Accident Attorney
The California construction accident attorneys at Bentley & More have many years of experience helping injured construction workers throughout Orange County and the surrounding areas with their complex construction accident claims. Well-versed in workers’ compensation as well as third-party claims, we can determine your best options for getting the compensation and benefits you need. We are prepared to fight hard for your rights and future and help you get the maximum compensation possible.