Construction Workplace Injuries

Construction workers have one of the more dangerous jobs in America with construction worker missing an average of ten days a year due to workplace injuries. While almost every career field has the potential for a work place injury, due to the nature of construction work this risk and the severity of the accidents are compounded. There were just over 4000 fatalities related to workplace accidents in 2011 and out of these 17% (721 deaths) were in construction, which is way over average. And the percentage of construction workers who were just injured was even higher.

The Common Causes Of Construction Injuries

Construction workers suffer from many of the same injuries that are faced in any workplace; slips, trips and falls, being struck by an object, over exertion and others. These have the potential to cause more severe injuries however because in the average office if you trip you are unlikely to fall three stories. The most common injury types in the construction field are;

Falling – Slips, trips and falls are most often caused by wet or slick surfaces or clutter in path of a walker. If these falls are on a level surface they usually just because sprains, bruises, pulled muscles in the back and in extreme cases fractures or broken bones and head trauma. Workers comp has another classification for falls that involve the worker falling from a height, or a falling to a lower level, and these falls can cause more serious damage like brain trauma and broken or fractured bones.

Overexertion – Overexertion is the most common in any career field, and on construction sites is usually caused by workers attempting to move heavy objects without aid. Overexertion can be caused by pushing, pulling, lifting, throwing, or even just holding heavy objects. These injuries are usually related to back problems, and pulled or strained muscles.

Struck By Object – Struck by object injuries are injuries which occur as a result of an object striking an employee. This can be anything from a backhoe to a small nail falling from a rafter. Injuries resulting from an employee being struck vary depending on the size and speed of the striking object. These injuries cover the spectrum from small sprains to broken bones and head trauma.

Struck against Object – this injury type is similar to being struck by an object, except here the employee is the one striking. This is most often a construction worker walking into a floor joist or door frame, but can also include injuries resulting from an employee being thrown against a stationary object.

Electrocution – Construction sites are full of new, often exposed wiring and one careless moment can result in an electrocution. These accidents often result in burns and electrical shock which can do internal damage if of sufficient voltage.

Caught In/Crushing - When working around large, dangerous machines the workers are always running the risk of being caught in the machinery. This can cause massive trauma or even loss of the body part which is caught and even when no limbs are loss the pressure can cause internal damage.

The Big Four

17% of all workplace deaths in 2011 occurred in the construction industry and the majority of these were caused by just four accident types. While any of the above can result in a fatality the majority of construction deaths were caused by; falling, electrocution, struck by object, and caught in/ crushing. Of these four falling resulted in the most fatalities causing 251 deaths by itself. Electrocution resulted in 67 deaths and being struck by objects caused 73 fatalities. 19 people were killed by being caught in machinery.