Construction is one of the most important industries in Texas, employing over 700,000 people, and contributing 5.3% of the state’s GDP, with decades of continual growth. Unfortunately, construction is also one of the most dangerous professions, with more health and safety issues than any other industry in Texas. Construction sites are hazardous workplaces, and there are many different types of accidents. Let’s learn more about accidents and their causes in construction’.
Most Frequent Type of Accidents on Construction Sites
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction accounts for more workplace fatalities than any other sector. The main types of fatal construction accidents in Texas are:
- Transportation incidents. Transport-related injuries are the most common type of accidents on construction sites. Construction work zones are a frequent site of fatal crashes in Texas, as drivers and workers deal with uneven pavement, narrow lanes, and slow-moving heavy equipment. For construction site workers, nearly half of fatal transportation incidents involve a vehicle running over or backing over a construction worker.
- Falls, slips, and trips. Falls, slips, and trips are the most common cause of fatal accidents in the construction industry and account for 15% of all work-related deaths in Texas.
- Contact with objects and equipment. Contact with objects and equipment is the third-leading cause of fatal work injuries, and the fourth leading cause of non-fatal work injuries in 2020.
- Exposure to harmful substances or environments. Construction sites are often hazardous workplaces, where workers are exposed to hazardous substances, including chemicals, lubricants, fuels, solvents, and harmful building materials.
- Fires and explosions. While fires and explosions are an uncommon type of accident on construction sites, they pose a significant hazard to construction workers and cause fatal construction accidents every year.
If you are wondering how often accidents occur in construction, the most recent estimate is that there are approximately 43 construction site injuries in Texas every day. However, it can be incredibly difficult to gather accurate information about construction site accidents and their causes. The BLS tracks workplace illnesses and non-fatal injuries in the same category, although illness-related workplace absences are not a meaningful measure of construction site accidents and illnesses. In addition, non-fatal construction site accidents and incidents are under-reported, as workers may feel the incident is minor, undocumented workers may avoid reporting, and companies may encourage workers to minimize safety hazards. The real number of non-fatal accidents and injuries may be much higher.
What are the Main Causes of Accidents in Construction?
Almost all construction site accidents are preventable if companies and construction workers follow safety guidelines and protocols to avoid them. Here are the main causes of accidents in construction:
- Causes of construction transport accidents. Some of the most common causes of construction site transport incidents are caused by:
- Vehicles and heavy equipment backing over workers
- Vehicles and heavy equipment rolling over on steep or uneven terrain
- Overloaded cranes and lifts malfunction and tip over or drop loaded materials
- These accidents are exacerbated by the fact that construction sites are exceptionally loud workplaces, so audible traffic and movement signals are often impossible to hear. These accidents can be avoided if site managers properly mark construction sites, create adequate zones of travel, and properly vet and train vehicle operators.
- Causes of slips, falls, and trips. Even short heights can be incredibly hazardous for construction workers. The most common causes of fatal construction falls are:
- Lack of fall protection for workers at elevation
- Lack of protection from falling objects for people working below
- Tripping hazards from construction material and debris on site
- OSHA has special guidelines for construction workers at elevation, with specific guidelines for ladders, scaffolding, and other fall and slip construction hazards.
- Causes of equipment contact accidents. There are several types of construction accidents in this category, including:
- “caught-between” accidents
- “struck by object” accidents
- electrocution accidents
- tool-related accidents
- crushing accidents
- Construction workers may be caught in or pinned by heavy machinery, have power- or hand-tool accidents and injuries, or be accidentally struck by machinery, tools, or objects used by other workers. In most cases, these types of accidents can be prevented by the proper use of safety equipment; following established safety guidelines for machinery, vehicles, electricity, etc; and having high situational awareness of your surroundings.
Challenges of Recovery in Construction Site Accidents
If you or someone you love has been injured in a construction site accident, you may be entitled to compensation and recovery for your damages. However, construction site accident lawsuits pose some special challenges for victims. Here are some of the factors to consider:
- Construction site accidents often have multiple causes. Many different factors may have contributed to a construction site accident, including:
- Poor weather that causes slipping hazards or obscures visibility
- Construction site workers who are poorly trained in safety procedures or safe operation of equipment
- Construction site managers who failed to adequately mark work areas or manage traffic
- Construction site supervisors who failed to properly brief workers about safety hazards and protocols
- Equipment malfunctions
- Construction projects usually have multiple companies, in complex relationships. Construction jobs are complex projects with many different roles and responsibilities, where job duties and oversight can be shared between different entities. In the case of an accident, different companies and their insurers can attempt to shift the blame to other parties.
Because of these factors, an injured construction worker or their family may have multiple causes for action, including a workers’ comp claim, a personal injury claim, or even a wrongful death claim.
When a construction accident has occurred, it is important to conduct a thorough investigation to determine liability and identify all the responsible parties. For victims of construction accidents, it is critical to have an experienced attorney on your side, who can hold all the responsible parties accountable.
How Can Aaron Allison Help?
At the law firm of Aaron Allison, we are experts in all types of accidents and injuries. We support construction workers in every aspect of their injury and recovery, including negotiating with insurance companies, getting workers’ compensation, or filing personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits. Because these cases can be so complex, you need an attorney who knows accidents and their causes in construction, and who will fight for your rights, and help you recover everything you are entitled to. Contact us for a free consultation.