The good news is that working in construction can not only provide you with a steady job, but also with lucrative paychecks. The bad news, however, is that this industry is inherently dangerous, putting you at high risk of sustaining on-the-job injuries.
Construction, of course, is a very broad industry, encompassing numerous specific occupations. Some of the most common include the following:
- Crane operator
Regardless of your particular occupation, the fact nevertheless remains that construction sites, almost by definition, are very dangerous places indeed.
Construction Accident Statistics
The following statistics give a startling view of an industry fraught with dangers:
- Construction worker deaths account for approximately 20% of all worker deaths in the U.S., even though construction workers represent only 6% of the U.S. labor force.
- In 2020, 1,008 construction workers died from on-the-job injuries.
- Each year, 10.2 out of every 100,000 construction workers sustain a fatal workplace accident.
- In 2020, the total number of nonfatal U.S. construction injuries rose to 174,100.
- In 2020, 130,000 construction workers had to take time off from work due to workplace injury.
- You are most likely to sustain a construction related injury if you are between the ages of 25 and 34.
Construction’s “Fatal Four”
Given the extraordinary number of worker deaths attributable to the construction industry, OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, compiled a list of the types of accidents that cause the largest number of such deaths. Dubbed the “Fatal Four,” these four types of accidents account for 63.7% of all construction worker deaths nationwide. They are, in order:
- Struck by objects
- Caught in or caught between objects
Falls present, by far, your greatest risk of dying while on the job. Each year, falls account for 38.7% of nationwide construction worker fatalities. Perhaps this is not so surprising when you stop to consider the fact that you do a lot of your work from roofs, ladders and scaffolding. In addition, you may often work around unfinished elevator shafts.
Struck by Objects
These types of accidents account for 9.4% of nationwide construction worker fatalities. The objects that could strike you while you’re working are almost too numerous to list, but some of the most common include the following:
- Falling tools
- Flying debris
- Unbalanced crane loads
- Improperly braked rolling machinery, equipment or vehicles
Accounting for 8.3% of nationwide construction worker fatalities, electrocutions occur when a part of your body contacts a source of high-voltage electricity. Often this happens when the metal ladder from which you’re doing your work comes into contact with an overhead power line, with the ladder acting as a conduit for the electricity to enter your body. Other accident scenarios include your touching an old, worn, frayed or otherwise damaged electrical cord. Even working outdoors in wet conditions can be a major hazard for electrocution since water is an excellent conductor of electricity.
Caught In or Caught Between Objects
As their name implies, these types of accidents, which account for 7.3% of nationwide construction worker fatalities, occur when part of your body becomes trapped in or between two heavy, hard-surface objects. Examples include the following:
- Catching your hand or foot in an elevator’s doors or other mechanisms
- Being crushed between a piece of heavy equipment and a wall, floor or the ground
- Becoming trapped in a collapsing trench or ditch
Nonfatal Construction Accidents
In terms of the nonfatal accident risks you face when working construction, again, falls represent the most common. In 2019 alone, falls, slips and trips accounted for 32% of all nonfatal construction site accidents nationwide. Specifically, they accounted for 25,460 of the 79,660 nationwide nonfatal construction injuries.
A fall, especially one from a high perch, such as scaffolding, a tall ladder or a roof, can result in catastrophic injuries, including the following:
- A traumatic brain injury
- A spinal cord injury
- Multiple broken or fractured bones
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Falls represent the number one cause of traumatic brain injuries, defined as what happens when your head sustains a violent blow or an object, such as a sharp tool, penetrates your skull. The immediate physical symptoms of a TBI can include the following:
- Loss of consciousness
- Seizures or convulsions
- Nausea and vomiting
- Numbness or weakness in your fingers and toes
- Loss of coordination
- Blurry or otherwise distorted vision
The most frightening aspects of a TBI, however, are the lingering effects it may have, including the following:
- Speech problems
- Mobility problems
- Vision problems
- Hearing problems
- Cognitive problems
- Emotional and mental problems, such as an uncontrollable temper, nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, depression and other PTSD symptoms
In fact, a serious TBI could disable you for life.
Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury occurs when you injure your neck or back, thereby damaging your spinal cord and the nerves that run through it. The results of an SCI likely will be paralysis of the parts of your body below the level of your construction accident injury. The two main types of paralysis are paraplegia and quadriplegia.
Paraplegia affects the lower half of your body. As a paraplegic, you likely will be unable to control the muscles in your legs, feet and possibly hips. You also likely will have little or no sensation in those parts of your body. In other words, you will be unable to walk and will need to use a wheelchair to get from one place to another.
Quadriplegia, which healthcare professionals call tetraplegia, affects all four of your limbs, that is, your arms and hands in addition to your legs and feet, as well as your trunk and pelvic region. As a quadriplegic, you likely will be unable to perform your normal daily functions, such as dressing, eating, or even moving back and forth between your bed and your wheelchair. In a worst-case scenario, quadriplegia could make you dependent on mechanical ventilation in order to breath.
Multiple Broken or Fractured Bones
These construction site injuries most frequently affect the following parts of your body:
Depending on the number of bones involved, where they’re located, and the seriousness of the damage done to them, these types of accidents can require amputation of part or all of your affected limb or limbs.
When You Need Legal Help
Given the detailed overview above that illustrates the injury risks you face as a construction worker, the unfortunate likelihood is that you will, in fact, sustain an injury at some point in your career. When this happens, your wisest course of action is to contact a New Jersey construction accident lawyer at Judd Shaw Injury Law™. Why? Because injury law is all we practice. In fact, we’re one of the premier personal injury firms in New Jersey. We handle all types of injury cases, including those that occur on construction sites.
We’re passionate about what we do, and we’re proud to say that we do it very well. Our track record of achieving favorable settlements and jury awards for our injured clients speaks for itself, including a recent $2.6 million settlement for a construction site slip-and-fall accident.
From the time of your free initial consultation to the resolution of your construction accident claim, you will find that neither our services nor our efforts on your behalf are average. We go the extra mile to hold negligent parties, including contractors, subcontractors, foremen, machine operators and equipment manufacturers, responsible when their mistakes, oversights, or carelessness result in the injuries or deaths of innocent workers. You can rest assured that, in all probability, the New Jersey construction accident attorney at our law firm can help you, too. Call 1-866-909-6894 or contact us online 24/7 for a free consultation.