How Often Do Construction Workers Die?
If you’re considering becoming a construction worker, you may be thinking about how great it will be to have good pay, steady work, and the chance to work with your hands outdoors. You may also be thinking about safety and the fact that construction is one of the most dangerous industries in the country, second only to agricultural work.
Construction work can lead to incredible opportunities, including the opportunity to travel abroad with your company. It can also lead to accidents that can maim and kill. In fact, an average of two construction workers die on the job every day in the United States.
The Biggest Dangers Construction Workers Face
According to construction accident lawyer Benedict Morelli, each year more than 1,000 construction workers die and thousands more are injured. Many of these accidents were the result of negligence and were therefore preventable if only better safety standards and training were in place.
The most common types of accidents are known as the “fatal four.” According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in 2014 the following four types of accidents were responsible for more than 58% of all construction deaths.
Falling is the leading cause of construction worker deaths, and it also causes more than 100,000 injuries annually. Workers can fall from scaffolding, from aerial work platforms, from buildings, and even from bridges.
Being electrocuted is the second leading cause of fatal construction accidents. More than 300 construction workers die by electrocution each year, and 4,000 more are injured. Electrical workers are the most likely to die by electrocution, but laborers, carpenters, and roofers are also at risk.
Being Struck By an Object
Being struck by an object is the third most common reason construction workers are killed. Workers can be struck by falling tools, heavy equipment, and suspended loads that were dropped from a height, leaving them with little time to react and get out of the way.
Being Crushed Between Objects
Number four in the “fatal four” list is being crushed between objects. This can happen when a construction worker falls or is pulled into equipment, when equipment rolls over on them, or when construction materials collapse on each other, trapping the worker between them.
How to Stay Safe
The number of construction injuries and accidents may be grim, but once it’s put into perspective with the overall number of construction workers in the U.S. it becomes clear that most will remain safe. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 7.29 people employed in construction in 2018.
Follow these tips if you want to stay on the right side of the statistics:
- Familiarize yourself with potential hazards
- Use properly fitting personal protective equipment, including hard hats and slip-resistant work boots
- Use personal fall arrest systems and inspect them with each use
- Never work on wet or icy scaffolding
- Follow the three points of contact rule whenever you’re using a ladder
- Use three-point control for climbing ladders
- Wear a face mask and eye protection whenever you will be working with any type of flying object hazard
- Use caution when getting in and out of equipment
- Be careful when you are loading and unloading equipment
- Use aerial lifts instead of ladders whenever possible
- Avoid standing near large machinery
The most important aspect of construction work safety is good training. Never agree to do anything until you are positive you have been well-trained and that you understand the necessary safety precautions.
Accidents are sometimes avoidable, but by following these steps you’ll have a better chance of avoiding an accident. Construction can be the beginning of a fantastic career, but if you’re not careful, it could also mean the end of your life.
By Eugene Adams