What Are the Most Common Causes of Construction Accidents?
The construction industry is the backbone of urban growth and development, from towering skyscrapers to expansive bridges. This crucial sector, however, is fraught with danger, often placing construction workers in high-risk environments where accidents are unfortunately all too common.
The construction sector causes a significant number of worker fatalities and injuries. If a construction accident injured you or took the life of a loved one, you may face a difficult time filled with pain, suffering, grief, and economic instability. A construction accident lawyer in Orange County can seek compensation for all of those losses.
The Dangers of Construction Accidents
A construction accident could range from minor incidents, such as sprains and cuts, to major accidents involving falls, electrocutions, or exposure to harmful substances.
The consequences of a construction accident are extensive. Beyond the immediate physical injuries and potential loss of life to all workers involved, these incidents can greatly diminish your quality of life and ability to return to work.
Construction accident injuries can leave you feeling uncertain about your future. You may worry about medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, and the sudden loss of your income. Psychological trauma from the accident may destabilize your mental health and overall well-being.
You do not have to navigate this difficult period alone. A knowledgeable construction accident attorney can file for worker’s compensation or a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf if a third party’s negligence contributed to the accident.
The Most Common Causes of Construction Accidents
Understanding the common causes of construction accidents can provide insight into how they occur and, if you are an injured worker, how you can claim compensation through an experienced construction accident attorney.
Falls From Heights
Falls from heights are the most common cause of construction accidents. Whether you fell through a hole in the floor, off a rooftop, or from scaffolding, a ladder, or another elevated work site, a slip or loss of balance can easily result in a fall, leading to grave injuries or even death.
Some common reasons for falls include unstable working surfaces, misuse or failure to use fall protection equipment, and human error. Weather conditions, such as rain, snow, or ice, can also increase the risk of falls from heights at construction work sites. The injuries resulting from these falls may range from broken bones and spinal cord damage to traumatic brain injuries. Many of these injuries can lead to extended rehabilitation or permanent disability.
Falling objects frequently cause construction accidents. This occurs when materials, tools, or equipment falls from above and hits or crushes a worker. The two leading causes of these incidents are unsafe acts and unsafe conditions. Inadequate safety measures when lifting or moving heavy objects, unsecured objects left at the edge of a surface, or poor housekeeping practices are all examples that can lead to an uncontrolled object falling on someone.
The severity of the injury often depends on the size and weight of the object and the force with which it strikes you. Common injuries include fractures, concussions, internal damage, crushed limbs, or traumatic brain injuries.
Power tools, heavy machinery, and electrical wiring dominate the construction industry, so it is no surprise that electrocutions are among the most common causes of construction accidents. There are numerous scenarios where a worker can come into contact with electricity, such as operating equipment too close to overhead power lines or using flawed or damaged tools and machinery. Electrocution can also occur if the worker does not follow proper lockout/tagout protocols when machines are undergoing maintenance or repair.
Causes of electrical accidents on construction sites include exposure to power lines, improper use of extension and flexible cords, and use of malfunctioning equipment. Many electrocutions occur due to inadequate on-site electrical hazard training or insufficient personal protective equipment (PPE).
The injuries resulting from electrocution can be severe and often fatal. They may include skin burns, internal organ damage, respiratory difficulties, heart problems, seizures, and death. Non-fatal electrocution can lead to longer-term health problems, such as nerve damage and chronic pain.
Trapping Limbs in or Between Objects
Another significant cause of construction accidents involves the trapping or crushing of a worker between two or more objects or parts of an object. Shifting or moving machinery may crush a worker’s body part, for instance, or a trench may collapse, trapping the worker inside.
Common reasons for these types of construction accidents include a lack of proper safety measures or machine guarding, inadequate training, failure to comply with safety rules, unsafe job procedures, and unsecured heavy machinery or equipment.
Injuries from this type of construction accident can be devastating, often resulting in crushed or mangled limbs, fractures, internal organ damage, and even death. Given the severity of such injuries, they often require extensive medical treatment, which can lead to significant financial hardship for victims and their families.
Other Common Causes of Injuries at Construction Sites
While falls, electrocutions, falling objects, and trapped limbs top the list of common causes of construction injuries and fatalities, several other situations also present substantial risks to construction workers.
Overexertion and Heat Stress
Overexertion from heavy lifting, pushing, pulling, or throwing can lead to strain and sprain injuries. It can be a result of improper lifting techniques, performing strenuous tasks without taking adequate breaks, or dehydration. Heat stress may occur if you work in a hot environment. It can cause heat stroke, exhaustion, cramps, or rashes. Inadequate rest, dehydration, or insufficient PPE can lead to heat stress.
Machinery accidents typically occur when a worker operates or works around heavy machinery, such as bulldozers, forklifts, cranes, or backhoes. Incidents may occur due to equipment malfunction, inadequate safety measures, lack of training, or failure to maintain the machinery in good condition. These types of accidents can result in multiple injuries, such as crushed limbs, lacerations, or fatalities.
Trench collapses pose a particular risk to workers involved in excavation work. Trench walls can cave in, trapping and suffocating the worker under the weight of the soil. They may also suffer crushing or blunt force trauma injuries. Trench collapses are often the result of inadequate protective systems, lack of regular inspections, or not following safety regulations.
Explosions on construction sites can occur due to the ignition of flammable materials, leaks of hazardous gasses, or faulty electrical wiring. These incidents can result in severe burns, lacerations from flying debris, lung damage from inhalation of toxic fumes, or even death.
Exposure to Harmful Substances
Construction workers often work with harmful substances, such as asbestos, lead, or silica dust. Long-term exposure to these substances can lead to serious health conditions, including lung diseases, cancer, and neurological disorders. Causes include failure to provide adequate ventilation, improper disposal of hazardous materials, and lack of appropriate PPE.
How Construction Accidents Can Harm Workers
Construction accidents can have devastating consequences on workers’ physical health, psychological well-being, financial stability, and quality of life.
Physical injuries from construction accidents range from minor cuts and bruises to life-threatening conditions, such as broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, burns, and amputations. Workers may face long-term or permanent disabilities that transform their ability to work and live independently.
Along with physical injuries, construction workers may experience psychological trauma following an accident. This can manifest as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions.
Financial Implications for a Victim of a Construction Accident Injury
After a construction accident, medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and loss of income can quickly accumulate, leading to significant financial strain on you and your family. Injuries from a construction accident can cause long-term disabilities. You may need to make drastic lifestyle changes, learn new skills, or rely on assistance to perform daily tasks.
Legal Rights and Protections for Construction Workers
You have legal rights and protections in the event of a workplace accident. Understanding these rights can help you navigate the complex legal landscape following an accident. Workers’ compensation is crucial for providing you with monetary relief. It offers benefits for medical care and rehabilitation and provides partial income loss replacement for temporary or permanent disabilities.
The Process of Claiming Compensation
Claiming compensation involves reporting the injury to your employer, seeking immediate medical treatment, and filing a claim with your state’s workers’ compensation agency. Any mistake or omission during the preparation stage can result in extended delays or denials of your claim. A lawyer would submit all necessary paperwork correctly and on time.
Do You Need a Lawyer to File a Claim for a Construction Site Accident?
Hiring a lawyer for a workers’ compensation or third-party liability claim means a legal professional will safeguard your interests. A lawyer can explain your rights, guide you through the process, and fight for maximum compensation.
They will collect evidence, obtain necessary medical records, arrange for an independent medical examination if necessary, and effectively communicate the extent of your injuries and their detrimental influence on your life.
Construction accidents can have severe and lasting effects on workers. Understanding the common causes of these accidents can ensure you know your rights and protections. If you sustain an injury in a construction accident, seek legal advice to navigate the complex process of claim filing and compensation.