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How Often Do Accidents Occur in Construction?

Posted by Emily Ruby | Jan 13, 2023 | 0 Comments

Construction is among the most dangerous industries in California when it comes to workers suffering injuries on the job. Whether it is residential construction, commercial buildings or high-rise construction, these dangers are ever present for workers, particularly when construction companies and contractors in charge of the project do not follow safety regulations.

Each year, thousands of workers are injured or killed in construction accidents in the United States, including in California. These accidents occur due to a variety of reasons. Regardless of why they occur, construction accidents can be life changing not just for the injured workers, but also their families. An experienced Los Angeles construction accident lawyer can help fight for the rights of injured workers and help them secure maximum compensation for their losses.

Key Points - Table of Contents

Construction Accident Fatalities

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 and extraction occupations accounted for nearly half of all fatal occupational injuries, representing 1,282 and 976 workplace fatalities respectively.

Here are some key U.S. construction accident statistics from OSHA and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • One in five deaths among U.S. workers are in the construction industry.
  • A total of 1,008 construction workers died on the job in 2020.
  • Of the 42 crane-related deaths, around 60% involve a falling object.
  • Falls account for 34% of all constructions. Preventing falls in construction sites would save roughly 300 lives each year.
  • The top four leading causes of construction accident fatalities - fall, struck by equipment, caught in/between objects and electrocutions - account for more than 60% of all construction-related deaths.
  • The rates of injuries and illnesses in the construction industry were 24% higher than they were in other industries.
  • In 2020, there were more than 174,000 injuries in the construction industry nationwide.

According to the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), there were 92 fatalities in the construction sector in the state in 2020. Of those 37 injuries occurred because of slips, trips and falls; 19 were due to exposure to harmful substances; 17 involved transportation incidents; and 12 involved contact with objects and equipment.

The Cost of Construction Injuries

Each year, construction accident fatalities cost the United States $5 billion each year in health care, lost income, reduced quality of life for family members and lost production. Also, annual total workplace injury costs exceed $170 billion in the United States, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Workers' comp claims nationwide for fall-related construction accidents that don't result in fatalities cost $2.5 billion annually, according to statistics from Liberty Mutual. Also, more than 130,000 construction workers missed workdays because of on-the-job injuries or illnesses in 2020.

Top Causes of Construction Accidents

There are a number of common injuries that can happen while working at a construction site. Of those injuries there are very serious accidents that can be fatal. Here are the top causes of construction accident fatalities, also known as the "Fatal Four":

Falls: Fall from heights is one of the most common causes of construction accident deaths. Construction workers and laborers often operate on roofs, ladders, scaffolding and other elevated working surfaces. OSHA regulations require that workers be provided with fall protection devices such as safety harnesses, nets and guardrails.

Struck by an object or equipment: These types of injuries occur when a worker is hit by an object, vehicle or piece of equipment at a construction site. Roughly 10% of these workplace fatalities are caused by struck-by accidents.

Electrocution: When workers are exposed to live wires or overhead power lines, they face the risk of electrocution. Over 8% of workplace fatalities involve electrocutions. Contractors and construction companies have a responsibility to make sure workers are not exposed to these risks at a worksite.

Caught in/between: Examples of such incidents are trench collapses as well as laborers who get caught in or between moving machine parts or construction materials. While these types of accidents account for about 2.5% of construction deaths, they can also result in catastrophic injuries that could lead to lifelong disabilities.

Injured Construction Workers Can Seek Compensation

When construction workers are injured on the job in California, they can seek compensation for damages such as medical bills and lost income. Under the state's workers' compensation law, injured workers are entitled to receive medical expenses and a portion of lost wages, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. This is meant to get workers the resources and finances they need to get medical care in a timely manner. While injured workers can get compensated through this system, they give up their right to sue their employer in most cases.

However, if your construction accident was caused by a party other than your employer, you may also have basis to file a "third party injury claim." While workers' comp covers damages such as medical bills, a portion of lost wages and disabilities, it might not cover other damages such as cost of continuing care and pain and suffering. Personal injury or construction accident lawsuits can help cover those losses. Similarly, family members who have lost a loved one in a construction accident may be able to seek additional compensation by filing a third-party claim. Examples of third parties include general contractors, sub-contractors, property owners and manufacturers of defective products. An experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyer can help victims and their families in such cases secure maximum compensation for their losses. 

Our Construction Accident Lawyers Can Help

Some inquired victims might be wondering, "Do I need a construction accident lawyer?"  If you have been involved in a construction accident, it is crucial that you speak with an experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyer who can help you identify possible avenues of compensation in addition to workers' comp. California workers' comp benefits are extremely inadequate, particularly when it comes to covering debilitating injuries or compensating a family for the loss of loved one who was a primary wage earner. You want an attorney who can help you get the maximum construction accident settlement for your case. At Greenberg and Ruby Injury Attorneys, APC, we understand the unique challenges construction workers face when it comes to seeking compensation after a traumatic accident. Call us today to find out how we can help protect your rights.

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.

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