Increased heights, heavy machinery, small spaces and tight deadlines often create a recipe for disaster on construction sites. In 2015, 21 percent of all U.S. worker fatalities in the private industry were in construction jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although construction site injuries are quite common, many of them can be prevented if those in charge of the site take proper precautions to protect their workers.
The experienced Harrisburg construction accident lawyers at Schmidt Kramer hold individuals and corporations accountable when they fail to maintain a safe work environment as required by law. If you have been injured, we can carefully analyze your claim to identify the party liable for your construction accident. We can discuss your legal options for recovering compensation for the injuries you suffered.
Some of the most common construction accidents in Pennsylvania and across the U.S. include:
The Construction Industry’s Fatal Four
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the most common accidents that resulted in construction fatalities are rolled into the “fatal four.” These four types of accidents are responsible for most construction worker fatalities:
- Falls – In 2015, 38.8 percent of construction fatalities were due to falls. Construction workers may be at heights while working on commercial or residential properties, roofs and scaffolding. Falling from heights can often result in serious injuries or death. Several of the 10 most commonly issued citations by OSHA involved factors that could lead to falls, such as failing to provide fall-protection equipment and systems, unsafe ladders, and problems with scaffolding.
- Struck by an Object – OSHA reports that nearly 10 percent of construction worker fatalities are due to workers being hit by tools, debris or other items on the job site. Many of these fatalities occurred when objects fell from heights onto workers below. Other fatal injuries were due to contact with heavy equipment like cranes.
- Electrocution – Electrocution is the third leading cause of construction worker fatalities. Electricity is used on construction sites to provide lighting in dark spaces, to power heavy equipment and on power tools; also, electrical wires and other equipment are installed by those constructing a building. Potential electrical hazards on construction sites include coming into contact with a power line, the improper use of extension cords, the improper use of equipment, or coming into contact with lines that are not properly grounded. One of the 10 most commonly issued OSHA citations includes problems related to wiring methods and electrical components.
- Compression – Workers who were compressed by equipment or objects, stuck or crushed in a collapsing structure, or crushed by equipment or material made up approximately 7.2 percent of construction worker fatalities in 2015.
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Another common source of construction site injuries is vehicular accidents. Many construction workers work on or near the road, which places them at an increased risk of being struck by a passing vehicle.
Additionally, working in the construction industry often requires workers to travel to different job sites. They may also be required to pick up supplies and materials for the work, increasing their likelihood of being injured in a motor vehicle collision.
Construction workers may come into contact with dangerous materials like asbestos and lead paint. They may also encounter hazardous substances like mold. This exposure can lead to respiratory illnesses or substance-related cancers.
Slips and Falls
Construction sites may have stray tools and materials that pose a fall risk if a worker steps on them. Electrical wires and extension cords pose an additional hazard. Uneven surfaces can increase the likelihood of construction workers slipping and falling. These sites are full of hazards that can lead to a dangerous slip, trip or fall.
Construction workers may use cranes, bulldozers, jackhammers, nail guns, and other machinery and tools that can be dangerous if not used properly. Using machinery or a tool improperly can result in serious injuries, including amputation, fractures and lacerations.
Fires and Explosions
Construction workers are also at an increased risk of suffering burn injuries or being injured in a fire or explosion. They are often exposed to dangerous conditions such as incomplete electrical systems, leaking gases and unfinished piping.
Construction workers must rely on a variety of tools and equipment to perform their basic job functions. If a tool is defective, an injured worker may not only have a valid claim against his or her construction company but also against the tool’s manufacturer. Employers are responsible for maintaining equipment and providing proper training to workers so that they know how to safely operate the machinery or use the tool.
Contact an Experienced Construction Accident Lawyer Today
If you have suffered an injury on a construction site, the experienced construction accident lawyers at Schmidt Kramer can help. We can carefully review the circumstances involved in your accident and identify the options that you have to recover compensation, including the possibility of a workers’ compensation claim or personal injury claim.
Because we work on a contingency fee basis, you do not pay for our assistance unless we are able to successfully recover compensation for you. We provide a free, no-obligation consultation to review your case and discuss your legal options.