Construction has a long-standing reputation as a profession that is both physically taxing and very dangerous. Construction workers have to deal with one of the highest rates of injury and death on the job, which is why they often command excellent wages for the hours that they work.
Certain accidents are exactly that. They are unpredictable flukes that no one could avoid because of unusual or random circumstances. However, many accidents, particularly fatal accidents, on construction worksites relate directly to one of the four workplace dangers known as the fatal four in construction.
Learning about these four potential workplace hazards can help you avoid the four most common causes of workplace death for construction workers.
Falls are the leading risk for construction workers
In 2017, one out of every five workplace fatalities involved the construction worker. Of those construction workers that died, roughly 40% died as a result of a fall. Some workers can fall off of the frame of a building while they are welding. Others may fall while installing or replacing a roof or windows. It is also possible for workers to suffer a fatal fall in an elevator shaft.
Sadly, almost all accidental fall fatalities could be preventable if employers provided safety harnesses for all of their staff and demanded that they work while in harness at any height above a single story.
Dangerous moving objects are the second biggest risk
Workers' can wind up struck by objects on construction sites through a number of circumstances. Objects could fall, striking a worker from above. It is also possible for objects to get tossed or propelled across the workspace, fatally striking someone. From tools to building supplies, objects in motion on a work site are a major source of danger.
Crushing accidents are also a risk at work
Given that construction worksites are often quite loud, workers typically wear protection for their ears to protect their hearing from permanent damage. Unfortunately, that can mean that workers' don't hear a machine beeping while backing up or other workers shouting a warning. Crushing accidents caused by things like moving machinery or a wall falling over are yet another major source of risk to construction workers.
Electrocution is the last risk on the fatal four
Working with live electricity can be dangerous, especially in unfavorable weather conditions. It doesn't take long for electricity, which is a great benefit at the worksite, to turn into a fatal danger. Puddling liquids, improperly secured wires and inadequate safety tagging procedures can all lead to accidental electrocutions.
Workers should do their best to comply with safety practices whenever handling electrical wiring or power tools. Employers should also provide adequate safety equipment for construction workers handling electricity. Sadly, some workers may still wind up severely injured or dead as a result of a workplace incident.
Workers' compensation offers disability benefits for hurt workers and death benefits for the family members of a worker who dies on the job. An experienced New Jersey workers' compensation attorney could help you navigate the benefits claim or appeal process after a serious construction incident.