Almost 6.5 million people work at over 250,000 construction sites in the U.S. on any given day, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Because of the heavy equipment and hazardous conditions often present at construction sites, the fatal injury rate for the construction industry is well higher than the national average for all other industries.
In the U.S., OSHA sets and enforces standards concerning workplace safety and health. Because of the increased safety standards, worker deaths in America have declined from about 38 workers per day in 1970 to 12 a day in 2012. Workplace fatalities have been reduced by more than 65 percent in the last 40 years, despite the fact that U.S. employment has nearly doubled.
Hazards Present on Construction Sites
Construction workers are exposed to a number of health hazards on the job, depending upon the trade, job, day, and even time of the day. Some of the many health hazards present on construction sites include asbestos, solvents, noise, and manual labor resulting in accidents. Other potential hazards faced frequently by construction workers include:
- Trench and scaffold collapse
- Falls, especially on ladders and stairways
- Injuries sustained while operating heavy equipment such as forklifts and cranes
- Being struck by objects
- Electric shock
- Heavy loads
- Chemical burns
- Injuries sustained due to failure to use protective equipment
- Repetitive motion injuries, including tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome
- Blows to the head resulting in traumatic brain injury
Falls account for the greatest number of fatalities in the construction industry.
Third Party Negligence
It is not uncommon that a worker will sustain a construction site injury due to the negligence of a third party. A third party is anyone other than the worker’s employer or co-worker. In such cases, employees may be able to pursue both workers’ compensation benefits and also bring a personal injury claim for negligence against the party responsible for their injuries.