What Are Some Common Dangers Construction Workers Face?

Construction is one of the country’s most dangerous industries. Workers face injuries from falls, electrocution, faulty equipment and more.

Unless someone happens to work in construction, it is easy to overlook the fact that construction laborers risk their lives every day to provide the things that the rest of the community takes for granted, such as safe buildings and roads. However, the fact remains that construction is one of the most dangerous jobs for workers in Illinois and everywhere else in the country.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, fatal workplace injuries in construction rose by 6 percent last year. Construction had one of the highest fatality rates out of all industries.

What Are the 'Fatal Four?'

There are many ways to be involved in a construction accident, but four types in particular are the most dangerous. According to EHS Today, falls top the list of these "fatal four" accident types. Falls accounted for 36 percent of all fatal construction injuries in 2012. Construction workers also face a high rate of being electrocuted by live cables, wires or electrical equipment, as well as shocks from faulty power tools and worn-out cords. They may be killed or seriously injured by being caught between objects, such as getting pinned by machinery or backed against an immovable surface by a construction vehicle. Construction workers can also be struck by objects, including falling tools or debris from scaffolding or moving machinery parts. Workers' compensation laws allow construction laborers or their family members to pursue compensation benefits after an injury such as the ones listed above.

Deadly Workplace Violations

Workplace violations significantly contribute to a large number of construction site accidents, according to Electrical Construction & Maintenance. The top three construction violations include the following:

• Scaffolding violations. Often, scaffold structures lack the required planking on walking surfaces or are constructed on unstable flooring, increasing the risk of falls or falling objects.

• Electrical violations. Cables or wiring may not be de-energized before workers cut into them, or workers may not be properly grounded and using the correct equipment to protect against shocks. They may also be using tools that are no longer safe to be in service.

• Excavation violations. Trenches, holes and other excavations should be properly supported or shored, with at least one escape route. These safety measures are often overlooked, and workers face being crushed or suffocated in a trench collapse or cave-in.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducts random inspections of 10,000 construction sites every year. Officials say that it is rare to visit a workplace that has no violations of any kind.

If you are injured in an accident at work, you are entitled to workers' compensation for your medical expenses and other losses. An experienced Peoria workers' compensation attorney may be able to help during the claims or appeals processes.