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How Many Fatal Accidents Occur Each Year on Construction Sites?

Posted by Emily Ruby | Feb 12, 2023 | 0 Comments

There are a number of moving parts in a construction site and dangers lurk in every corner, heightening the risk of accidents and injuries for workers. Some of these construction site accidents, tragically, result in fatalities or catastrophic injuries that could lead to lifelong disabilities. Numbers and statistics about construction fatalities and injuries tell the story of the hazards in construction sites. What we can also learn from fatality statistics are the causes of these tragedies, which almost always can be averted with safety measures.

Key Points - Table of Contents

Fatal Accidents on Construction Sites

According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 4,764 workers died on the job in 2020. Workers in transportation and material moving occupations and construction extraction occupations accounted for nearly half of all fatal occupational injuries (47.4%) representing 1,282 and 976 workplace deaths respectively.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there were 5,190 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2021 – which reflects an 8.9% increase from 4,764 in 2020. The fatal work injury rate was 3.6 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, up from 3.4 fatalities per 100,000 in 2020, and also up from the pre-pandemic rate of 3.5. Construction and extraction occupations had the second most occupational deaths (951) in 2021, in spite of experiencing a 2.6% decrease in fatalities from 2020.

Here are some key takeaways from recent fatal construction accident statistics:

  • In 2020, 1,008 workers and laborers in the construction industry were killed in worksites. This represented 21% of all fatal occupational injuries in 2020.
  • There were 805 fatal occupational injuries from slip-trip-and-fall accidents in 2020 of which 348 occurred on construction sites.
  • The construction industry also reported 257 fatal injuries from transportation-related industries.
  • In 2020, 153 deaths in construction sites occurred because of contact with objects or equipment.
  • Also, during that year, 174 fatal construction injuries were caused by exposure to harmful substances or environments.
  • The leading cause of construction site fatalities in 2020 was slip, trip or fall.
  • Males accounted for 98.2% of fatal work-related injuries in the construction industry in 2020.

Main Causes of Fatal Construction Site Accidents

The four main causes of construction site accidents, also known as the "Fatal Four" include:

  • Falls
  • Struck by objects of machinery
  • Electrocution
  • Caught in/between

While OSHA has regulations and safety standards, it is a sad reality that fatal construction accidents do occur. A surprising number of worksites still have lax safety procedures, which cause these preventable tragedies. If you work in the construction industry in California, it is important to understand that your right to a safe and healthy work environment is protected under state and federal laws.  

What to Do If You Are Injured in a Construction Site Accident

If you have been injured in a construction accident, it is important that you take certain steps to ensure you protect your rights:

  • Report the injury to your supervisor or foreman.
  • Take photos and make sure you document your injuries as well as any materials or machinery involved in your incident.
  • Under California law, a workplace injury must be reported within 30 days of the incident and a workers' compensation claim must be filed within one year.
  • Keep detailed notes of what happened and document any medical attention or treatment you received for your injuries.
  • Call an experienced California construction accident lawyer who will remain in your side, fight for your rights and help you secure fair compensation for your losses.

Learn more about construction accident lawsuits here.  Read about construction accident settlements here.

Compensation for Families After a Fatal Construction Accident

If you have been injured in a construction accident, you may be able to receive workers' compensation benefits that cover medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. When you have lost a loved one in a construction accident, you may be able to receive death benefits through the workers' compensation program. However, California workers' comp benefits alone are woefully inadequate when it comes to compensating families that have lost a loved one – especially someone who was a breadwinner or primary wage earner.

In such cases, families may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against a party other then the employer whose negligence caused or contributed to the construction accident. Examples of such parties include general contractors, sub-contractors, property owners, manufacturers of defective products etc. Wrongful death lawsuit settlements can help compensate survivors for losses such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income, pain and suffering and loss of love, care and companionship.

How Greenberg and Ruby Can Help

The sudden death of a loved one in a construction site accident could potentially devastate families financially. Let our knowledgeable Los Angeles construction accident lawyers help. At Greenberg and Ruby Injury Attorneys, APC, we have a long and successful track record of taking on challenging construction accident cases on behalf of workers and families -- and winning. Call us for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.

About the Author

Emily Ruby

2022 "Women in Law" Award Winner, Emily Ruby, specializes in complex cases, many of which involve catastrophic injuries and deaths. Mrs. Ruby has personally obtained more than $78.6 Million in compensation for her clients with an impressive 97.4% success rate and is a graduate of the prestigious CAALA Trial Academy. She was selected as one of Forbes' Best Wrongful Death Lawyers and is a writer for Advocate Magazine.


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