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What are the common causes of construction work accidents?

The construction industry, as pointed out in a previous post, is vital to society. It is what results in homes, office buildings, roads, bridges and other structures being built. However, those working in this industry go to work everyday facing many risks and dangers. Even when certain steps are taken to improve the safety and wellbeing of construction workers, they are still, unfortunately, harmed in accidents.

Based on statistics from 2015, 4,836 workers were killed on the job. This means that roughly 93 workers were killed each week, or in other terms, more than 13 deaths occurred every day that year. With regard to work fatalities occurring in private industries that year, 4,379 occurred. Of those, 937 workers or 21.4 percent were workers in the construction industry. That means that roughly one in five workers killed were construction workers.

What are the common causes of construction work accidents? Excluding highway collisions, the leading causes of fatality in the construction industry were falls. This occurred in 364 of the 937 deaths occurring in 2015. This was followed by being struck by an object, occurring in 9.6 percent of the construction deaths that year. The third most common cause of fatal construction accidents are due to electrocution, occurring in 81 of the 937 total deaths. Finally, the fourth cause is when a worker is caught in or between something on the construction site. This occurred in 7.2 percent of fatal construction accidents.

When accounting for all four of these causes, they responsible for more than half of the construction accident occurring in 2015. That means that if these four causes were eliminated, 602 lives could have been saved, roughly, each year.

A construction accident, whether fatal or injury causing, is unexpected. Thus, it is important that workers and their loved ones understand the rights afforded to them in these matters. Workers' compensation benefits can be awarded to injured workers or the loved ones of deceased workers. This could help offset losses caused by medical bills, lost wages and other related damages.

Source: Osha.gov, "Commonly Used Statistics," accessed August 20, 2017

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