In 2016 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that "fatal injuries among construction occupations rose by 2 percent to a total of 924 cases in 2015—the highest level since 2008.
Several construction-related jobs recorded their highest fatality totals in years, including construction laborers (highest since 2008); carpenters (2009); electricians (2009); and plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters (2003)."
These numbers represent a shockingly high-risk work environment and Sacramento area construction sites are no exception. It stands to reason that workers who are surrounded by building materials, tools, and heavy machinery often find themselves in harm’s way. The most common construction site accidents include:
1. Falls from heights - one of the main causes of construction accidents
Construction workers are often required to work at dangerously high elevations where a fall can result in permanent injury or even death. Accidents involving ladders, scaffolds, openings, platforms, skylights, walkways and other commonly used objects often lead to fatalities.
Since a construction crew's members spend most of their worktime on the site, the probability of a serious accident is quite high. Working while on tall structures can lead to such misfortunes due to other several factors, such as weather conditions or individual behaviors.
2. Risky activities often mean Slips or Trips leading to Falls
Because of the nature of the work, construction sites often have hazards like holes, tools, equipment, and other barriers that can provoke serious injuries when workers are distracted.
Slipping can easily be caused by wet surfaces or because of inattention. Since construction sites often contain varied objects such as cables, pipes, or clutter, tripping is also likely to happen.
Safety training programs exist in order to educate workers. Still, accidents happen at an alarming rate in the US.
3. Electrocutions hazards - serious or even fatal injuries
Before completion of projects, construction sites can have areas with exposed wiring, power lines, and incomplete electrical systems.
Although an effort is usually made to mark these areas, electrocution or shock can occur inadvertently.
Electricians are often required to work on active therefore dangerous networks or wires. Procedures for de-energizing the live networks are recommended for maximum safety.
4. Falling debris, materials or objects can even hurt multiple workers at once
On construction sites that deal with multilevel dwellings or buildings, it is not uncommon for a worker to be injured by falling tools, building materials, or beams.
Debris represents a main accident cause on sites, regardless if it's made of concrete, wood, glass, metal or just about anything.
Falling material from demolitions can leave multiple workers injured. Even a simple hammer falling from a ladder can cause death, because of the velocity.
5. Workers can find themselves Trapped in-between objects
Construction sites are filled with heavy machinery, tools, and materials. All of these objects can lead to one or more workers becoming trapped, often in positions where rescuing them is very problematic.
When safety precautions are overlooked or neglected, workers can find themselves stuck between immovable objects, machinery, or fallen debris. Getting pinned between solid objects also leads to serious injuries or death.
6. Severe injuries or multiple deaths due to Fires and explosions
Construction sites can have unfinished piping, leaking gases, and incomplete electrical systems. These items can cause hazardous fires or explosions, leading to disfigurement, disablement, or death.
Most construction sites are uniquely dangerous because of flammable liquids or electrical systems that can explode from a simple spark. Gas cylinders or blasting agents are also commonly seen and difficult to manage in a 100% safe manner. The strict safety standards have serious legal implications.
7. Overexertion matters - From Strains and Sprains to Severe Disorders
Hours of hard labor, often in extreme heat in California, can cause workers to overexert themselves or fall victim to heat stroke. Aside from muscle fatigue, overexertion can also affect workers' nerves, joints, tendons, cartilage, or the spinal area.
On a construction site, most workers are highly involved in carrying, lifting, or pulling heavy objects or materials. Statistically, the most affected physical area is the back area, its sensibility if left untreated causing many complications.
8. Using Machinery and heavy equipment - diverse accidents
Commercial construction workers use a lot of heavy machinery in their work; an error or accident with these can be very dangerous. The most important thing in an accident involving such items is whether the cause was the defective product or the misuse of said product.
Since most construction projects require modern machineries such as forklifts, hydraulic jacks, scissor lifts, cranes and way more, supervision and special training is constantly required.
9. Unexpected events - Vehicles crashing into construction sites
Construction sites are often located near or adjacent to roads or highways. A distracted driver can hit a worker causing severe injury or death. Some of these external events can cause injuries indirectly (such as a car crashing into some pipes that then fall on site workers).
Traffic regulation, barriers, warning signs or several other measures do not guarantee complete safety, but a construction accident attorney can get the injured proper compensation.
10. Broken bones, asphyxiation or death due to Trench collapses
Trenches are often a necessity on construction sites but can lead to severe injuries. For example, a worker can fall into a trench that was improperly marked off or a trench and its side walls can collapse with a worker inside.
Special measures when designing a trench are one of the most overlooked safety precautions on construction sites. It is highly recommended to use trench or shoring boxes, and the soil should also be analyzed especially in case it recently rained on it.
Legal Aid from a Sacramento Construction Accident Attorney
As with any severe injury, it is essential that you seek prompt medical attention. If you sustained your injuries while on the job, then you should be entitled to workers' compensation benefits.
Report your injury to your employer and, if physically able, take note of the names and contact information of those who witnessed the accident and your injuries.
After seeking medical attention, it is imperative that you contact a personal injury attorney who has the compassion, skill, and experience to seek justice on your behalf. Personal injury cases are complex; it is vital that a thorough investigation is done on your behalf to protect your rights and ensure that you receive fair compensation.