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What Are the Causes of Construction Accidents?

First aid support accident at work of construction worker at sit

Jobs in the construction industry are one of the most dangerous. It’s no surprise that recent data shows this field has an accident rate of 71% or higher. Understanding how to identify deadly and other common accidents on the construction worksite is key to worker safety. Let’s go over what these accident types are and what you can do to minimize your risk.

OSHA’s Fatal Four

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has designated the following four types of construction accidents as the “fatal four” due to their frequency in causing fatalities on a construction site. Although OSHA has trended away from using this phrase lately, these types of construction accidents remain to be the most common reasons fatalities occur on construction sites.

Falling from High Areas

The leading cause of fatalities on a construction site remains to be falls. Typically, falls account for about 36.4% of all fatalities in the construction industry. In 2019, 401 of the 991 construction fatalities occurred because of falls. Falls from high areas occur for a number of reasons but can often be due to faulty scaffolding, unsecured ladders, lack of PPE, and lack of safety railings.


Because electrocutions are the second deadliest type of construction accident, OSHA has special regulations when it comes to safety around electrical equipment. Best practices for remaining safe from electrocution include being aware of where the power lines are located when you are working, keeping a safe distance away from them, and using ground-fault surge protectors.

Falling Objects

Getting struck by an object as well as falling objects account for roughly 11.1% of all fatalities in the construction industry. Falling objects and getting struck by an object can occur for a variety of reasons. However, these types of injuries will usually consist of objects falling from a greater height. Using proper PPE including a safety helmet can help combat these types of injuries.


The last of the “fatal four” is getting caught in machinery or getting trapped in trenches, cave-ins, or excavation sites. This type of accident consists of an individual getting trapped, caught, or pinned in between a fixed structure or machinery. These accidents can happen suddenly and without warning. Data from OSHA reflects that caught-in/between accidents account for roughly 5.5% of construction site fatalities.

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Slips, trips, and other falls are other common accidents around construction types. These types of accidents can occur because of loose objects on the floor, weakened floorboards, or even slippery surfaces.

Equipment Related Injuries

Injuries related to equipment and heavy machinery are another reason accidents occur on construction sites. Sometimes, faulty equipment can cause unnecessary accidents and injuries as well. It’s important to always maintain equipment used on-site, inspect it regularly to make sure it performs as it should, and replace faulty equipment when necessary. Be sure to wear the proper PPE as this can decrease your chances of sustaining an equipment-related injury.

Hearing Loss from Excessive Noise

If you use heavy machinery that makes excessive noise, it is important that you use the proper ear protection. Loud machinery or working on a construction site where there are loud noises can lead to hearing loss. One of the most common injuries construction workers deal with long-term is tinnitus and other hearing-related injuries.

Repetitive Movements and Manual Labor Injuries

Repetitive movement like constant lifting or bending can take a toll on your body over time. When you do not use the proper form, techniques, or are engaged in repetitive movements long-term, you can cause injury to your body. These types of injuries are often referred to as manual handling injuries and are the result of constantly lifting, pushing, and carrying. Using proper technique, not lifting more than you can handle, and limiting the number of repetitive movements you do can help you minimize your risk for injury. Lift belts, braces, hoists and other equipment should be available on the site for lifting and moving heavy objects.

When to Seek Legal Representation

Injuries on construction sites occur more often than you might imagine. If you have been injured on the job site, you may be entitled to compensation through workers’ comp or other avenues if a third party was involved and/or responsible.

It’s important to seek legal representation if you feel your injury was the result of negligence on the job site. At Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson, our experienced attorneys can help you seek the legal representation you deserve. Reach out today for a consultation to discuss your case.

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