Working in construction isn’t an easy career path. The hours are often long, the work itself is difficult and there is a higher than average risk of injury or death on the job.
In fact, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, roughly 20 percent of the worker fatalities in 2016 were a result of construction work. That’s a pretty nerve-wracking statistic for people who work in construction and those who love a construction worker.
Thankfully, a little education can go a long way. There are five work site risks that cause almost two-thirds of construction deaths. If you know where the biggest risks are, it becomes much easier to avoid them and keep yourself safer while you’re on the job.
Falls are the single biggest risk to construction workers
Given how tall some buildings are, it really isn’t that surprising that falls are a leading cause of death among construction workers. Working at a height of even three or four stories could result in a fatal fall. Similarly, workers don’t need to be outside of a building to risk a fall. Falls inside a building, such as down an elevator shaft, can also prove deadly.
Given that falls cause 38.7 percent of construction deaths, more construction workers and companies should focus on fall prevention. Specialized training and safety harnesses in use at all times could reduce the risk of a serious fall at construction sites.
Watch out for falling and moving objects
The second biggest hazard at construction sites is related to all the moving materials, tools and machinery. Roughly 9.4 percent of worker fatalities in the industry relate to workers who get struck by an object. Sometimes those objects have fallen from higher up. Other times, they are moving through a work space.
Clear communication, safety training and a focus on visibility for all moving objects could reduce these incidents and protect construction workers.
Electricity is another major risk factor
It only takes a tiny mistake, like forgetting to install a lock in a safety device, for a worker to end up exposed to live electricity. Another 8.3 percent of construction worker deaths are a direct result of electrocution.
It’s important for workers and their families to know that electrocution accidents are common. Workers hurt by electricity or families of those killed by electricity may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
Crushing accidents or caught-between incidents are another danger
With so many large machines and moving equipment, there’s always the potential for crushing accidents. People get caught between two machines, between supplies and a structure or even end up trapped when part of a building collapses.
Caught-between accidents cause another 7.3 percent of construction worker deaths. Attempting to avoid these incidents, as well as falls, falling objects and live electricity can reduce your risk of getting hurt or dying on the job.