FAQ: What Are the Most Common Construction Injuries? [2024 Guide]

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What Are the Most Common Construction Injuries? Let's Discuss.

Question: What are the most common construction injuries?

Answer: The most common construction injuries include falls from heights, being struck by objects, electrocutions, and injuries from heavy machinery, often leading to fractures, lacerations, or more severe, sometimes chronic conditions.

These injuries can result from inadequate safety measures, equipment malfunctions, or failure to follow proper procedures on construction sites.

On this page, we’ll discuss this question in further depth, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety standards, who qualifies to file lawsuits for construction accidents and injuries, and much more.

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An Overview of Serious Injuries Suffered by Construction Workers

Construction sites are dynamic, bustling environments where skilled workers engage in physically demanding tasks to bring architectural visions to life.

However, the very nature of construction work exposes individuals to many serious risks and dangers.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 169,600 non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses in the construction industry in 2022.

The combination of heavy machinery, elevated structures, and intricate processes makes construction sites prone to accidents and injuries.

Construction workers perform various tasks, from heavy lifting to operating power tools.

They are also often at risk of exposure to hazardous materials.

The potential for construction accidents is high, even when employees properly follow safety protocols.

Common construction injuries range from minor cuts and bruises to severe, life-altering injuries.

In the worst-case scenarios, some construction injuries may result in fatalities.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury from a construction site accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages.

Contact TorHoerman Law for a free consultation.

You can also use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for the construction accident lawsuit instantly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Construction workers face risks of injury daily.

The inherent nature of construction work makes it one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.

The most common accidents on construction sites include:

  • Falls from heights (e.g., scaffolding, ladders)
  • Slips and trips on-site
  • Being struck by falling objects
  • Machinery accidents (e.g., forklift accidents, crane accidents, hoist accidents)
  • Electrical accidents and electrocutions
  • Trench or structure collapses
  • Exposure to hazardous materials
  • Fires and explosions
  • Overexertion and heat-related incidents
  • Equipment malfunctions, failures, or operator errors
  • Vehicle-related accidents (e.g., trucks, loaders)
  • Ground collapses

Yes, if you’re injured on a construction site due to negligence or unsafe conditions, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation for your injuries and losses.

Contact a construction accident lawyer from TorHoerman Law for a free consultation.

Use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify to take legal action instantly.

Seek medical attention, report the accident to your supervisor, document the scene and your injuries, gather witness information, and consult a personal injury lawyer experienced in construction accidents.

Compensation can cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and sometimes punitive damages, depending on the specifics of your case.

Reach out to an experienced construction injury lawyer for insight on your case.

Yes, workers’ compensation claims typically cover medical expenses and lost wages regardless of fault, whereas construction accident lawsuits seek damages due to negligence and can provide broader compensation.

Table of Contents

Common Construction Injuries and How They Occur

Construction sites are often the backdrop for a variety of common injuries, including falls from heights, machinery-related accidents, and injuries from falling objects.

These incidents frequently occur due to inadequate safety measures, equipment malfunctions, or failure to adhere to safety protocols.

The physical toll of such injuries ranges from broken bones and lacerations to more severe, long-term conditions, highlighting the need for rigorous safety standards in the construction industry.

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The most common construction accidents and injuries include the following:

  • Falls from heights
  • Injuries from machinery and equipment
  • Electrocutions and electrical shocks
  • Struck-By accidents
  • Overexertion
  • Repetitive stress injuries
  • Caught-In/Between accidents
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Broken bones
  • Slips and trips
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Chemical exposure
  • Burns, Explosions, and Heat Stress

Falls From Heights

Falls from heights are a pervasive risk in the construction industry.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), falls, slips, and trips accounted for 46.2% of fatal construction injuries in 2021.

This number includes 370 falls to lower levels and 11 falls on the same level.

Unprotected edges, unstable scaffolding, and inadequate fall protection contribute to this hazard.

The severity of these construction injuries can vary depending on the height of the fall and the surface the victim lands on.

Traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, and spinal cord damage are usual outcomes of falls from heights.

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Proper scaffolding, guardrails, safety nets, and personal fall arrest systems can significantly reduce the risk of falls from heights.

Regular safety training on the appropriate use of fall protection equipment is crucial.

In the event of a fall, seek medical attention immediately.

Even a seemingly minor fall can result in serious injuries that may not be immediately apparent.

Failure to seek prompt medical treatment can negatively impact your health and any potential legal claims. Report the incident to supervisors and document the details for future reference.

Injuries From Machinery and Equipment

Construction sites are full of powerful equipment and machinery necessary to complete the job.

However, working with these power tools comes with inherent risks.

Heavy equipment such as cranes, forklifts, and backhoes pose significant hazards to construction workers.

Workers may suffer injuries if caught in moving parts or struck by objects that fall from these machines.

Additionally, smaller tools like power saws, drills, and nail guns can cause serious harm if not used correctly.

Injuries from machinery and equipment can range from minor cuts and bruises to amputations, fractures, and death.

In 2021, there were 196,140 injuries and 705 fatalities related to contact with objects and equipment.

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To prevent injuries from machinery and equipment, employers must provide proper training on safe operation and maintenance.

All machines should have safety guards to protect workers from moving parts.

Regular inspections of equipment and tools are also vital to identify potential hazards.

In the event of an injury, stop work immediately and seek medical attention.

Be sure to report the accident to supervisors and document any details for future reference.

Electrocutions and Electrical Shocks

Electrocutions and electrical shocks are another common cause of construction site injuries, with electrical injuries being the fourth leading cause of workplace-related death in the country.

Construction jobs often require work with electrical wiring and high-voltage equipment, making them susceptible to electrical accidents.

Exposed wires, overhead or underground power lines, faulty equipment, and inadequate electrical safety precautions can all lead to electrocutions.

This hazard can result in severe burns, heart problems, and nerve damage.

In cases of severe electric shock injuries, construction workers may also suffer from brain damage, paralysis, permanent disabilities, or death.

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To prevent electrocutions, employers should provide proper training and ensure that all employees are familiar with safe electrical practices and wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling electricity.

They must ensure that all equipment and machinery undergo regular maintenance checks and address any safety hazards immediately.

Moreover, they must erect clear and visible signs all over the construction zone, indicating high-voltage areas to avoid potential risks.

In case of an electrical shock, it is crucial to cut off the power source immediately, if possible.

Seek medical help immediately and report the incident to your supervisor.

Failure to take swift action can cause severe damage or even be fatal.

Being Struck by Falling Objects

Falling objects are another common cause of construction site accidents.

Construction workers often work at heights, making them vulnerable to objects falling from above.

Unsecured objects such as tools, debris, and building materials can cause serious harm if they fall onto a construction worker.

Falling objects were responsible for 227 deaths in 2021.

Head injuries, brain damage, spinal cord injuries, and fractures are typical outcomes of being struck by falling debris.

The use of hard hats can significantly mitigate the risk of such workplace injuries, but victims may still suffer from severe injuries even with full protective gear.

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Employers must take necessary precautions to prevent falling objects, such as implementing strict protocols for securing tools and materials at heights and erecting toe boards, debris nets, and other protective barriers around work areas.

Workers must also undergo extensive training on the proper use of PPE, including hard hats.

Employers must regularly inspect the construction site to identify any potential hazards.

If struck by a falling object, seek medical attention immediately.

The full extent of injuries may not be apparent right away, so it is essential to get evaluated by a healthcare professional.

Report the circumstances to supervisors promptly and document the events for future reference.

Overexertion Injuries

Construction work is physically demanding and often requires workers to lift heavy objects, operate machinery, and perform repetitive tasks.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 266,530 cases of non-fatal musculoskeletal disorders or ergonomic injuries in 2019 alone.

Overexertion injuries such as sprains, strains, and hernias are common injuries in the construction industry.

To prevent overexertion injuries, employers should provide proper training on safe lifting techniques and ergonomic tools.

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They must also encourage workers to take frequent breaks to avoid mental and physical fatigue.

Workers must have the right to speak up if they feel overwhelmed or overworked without fear of repercussions.

In case of an overexertion injury, stop work immediately and get some rest.

Seek medical attention if necessary, and inform supervisors of the incident.

Record any details for future reference and make sure to follow any recommended physical therapy or rehabilitation plans.

Repetitive Stress Injuries

Similar to overexertion injuries, repetitive stress injuries are also common in the construction industry, with 17,160 counts of non-fatal repetitive motion injuries involving microtasks in 2019.

Workers who perform repetitive tasks such as hammering, drilling, or using handheld power tools are at risk of developing these types of injuries.

Repetitive motions can lead to cumulative trauma disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, or bursitis.

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Symptoms of repetitive motion injuries may include numbness, tingling, pain, and swelling in the affected area.

If left untreated, these injuries can become chronic and affect a worker’s ability to perform their job.

Employers must provide workers with ergonomic tools and equipment to prevent repetitive stress injuries.

Workers should also have comprehensive training in proper body mechanics and posture to reduce strain on their muscles and joints.

Employers must also implement regular breaks, task variety, and job rotations to avoid excessive repetition.

If experiencing symptoms of a repetitive stress injury, seek medical attention and report it to supervisors.

Rest and physical therapy may be necessary for recovery, so make sure to follow any prescribed treatment plans.

Getting proper treatment early on can prevent long-term complications or permanent disabilities.

Caught-In/Between Injuries

Caught-in and caught-between accidents are another common type of construction site accidents.

These occur when a construction worker gets caught, squeezed, or crushed between heavy objects such as machinery, equipment, and building materials.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recorded 315 cases of fatal caught-in and caught-between accidents and injuries in 2021.

These types of accidents can result in severe injuries such as amputations, fractures, internal organ damage, and even death.

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To avoid these accidents, workers must have proper training in operating machinery and equipment and understand the importance of maintaining a safe distance from moving or stationary objects.

Employers must also ensure that all machinery and equipment have safety guards and devices installed to prevent workers from getting caught.

Implementing lockout/tagout procedures and regular maintenance checks can also prevent these types of accidents from occurring.

In case of a caught-in/between accident, stop work immediately and seek medical attention.

Follow any recommended treatment plans for a full recovery.

Notify supervisors and document every detail for future reference.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 14,660 cases of intracranial injuries in 2020.

These traumatic brain injuries are a severe and potentially life-threatening type of construction site accident.

These injuries occur when the head suffers a strong impact, causing damage to the brain.

Falls, being struck by objects, and getting caught in or between equipment or machinery can all result in traumatic brain injuries.

Symptoms may vary depending on the severity of the injury but can include headaches, dizziness, confusion, loss of consciousness, and memory loss.

Employers must prioritize fall prevention measures and provide workers with proper personal protective equipment.

Workers must use protective headgear, such as hard hats, at all times while on the job.

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Regular safety training and hazard assessments can also prevent these types of construction accidents from occurring.

If a worker suffers from a traumatic brain injury, seek urgent medical care.

Inform the supervisor of the incident to injury and record all details for future reference.

Follow any recommended treatment plans and allow enough time for full recovery before returning to work.

Employers should also conduct a thorough investigation to identify any safety hazards and take necessary steps to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

Broken Bones

Broken bones are another common type of construction site injury.

These injuries include fractures, dislocations, and crush injuries.

Falls, being struck by objects, and getting caught in or between equipment or machinery are common causes of broken bones.

In 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recorded 74,610 counts of fractures in the private sector.

Broken bones can occur from falls, being struck by objects, or being caught in or between machinery.

Other factors, such as improper use of equipment, unsafe work practices, and lack of proper training, can also contribute to these types of accidents.

Symptoms may include pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty moving the affected area.

In severe cases, broken bones may require surgery and extensive rehabilitation.

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To prevent broken bones on construction sites, employers must ensure workers are trained in safety protocols and use personal protective equipment properly.

Regular safety meetings and hazard assessments can also identify potential hazards that may lead to these accidents.

In case of a broken bone, seek immediate medical care.

Document the circumstances for future reference and report the occurrence to supervisors.

Follow the doctor’s prescribed treatment plan and allow enough time for full recovery before returning to work.

Slips and Trips

Slips and trips are also common construction site accidents, with 38,700 cases in 2019.

These accidents occur when workers lose balance or footing due to slippery surfaces, uneven terrain, cluttered work areas, or unseen hazards such as cords or debris.

While most slips and trips may only result in minor injuries, they can also lead to more severe damages, such as broken bones or head injuries.

To prevent slips and trips on construction sites, employers must keep work areas clean and clutter-free.

Regular cleaning and maintenance can help identify potential hazards that may cause these accidents.

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Workers must also wear proper footwear with slip-resistant soles to prevent falls.

Adequate and visible warning signs can also alert workers to potential hazards.

In case of a slip or trip, seek medical attention if necessary.

Keep a record of the incident and report it to supervisors.

Employers must also investigate the cause of the accident and take necessary steps to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are severe and can result in permanent disability.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recorded 50 counts of non-fatal traumatic injuries to the spinal cord.

These types of accidents occur when there is damage to the spinal cord, which transports signals between the brain and the rest of the body.

Falls from heights, being struck by objects, and getting caught in or between equipment or machinery are all common causes of spinal cord injuries on construction sites.

Transportation incidents, such as vehicle accidents, can also result in spinal cord injuries.

Symptoms may include loss of movement or sensation, intense pain, difficulty breathing, and paralysis.

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To prevent spinal cord injuries on construction sites, employers must prioritize safety precautions and provide workers with proper personal protective equipment.

Workers must use protective gear at all times while on the job.

Regular safety training and hazard assessments can also prevent these types of construction accidents from occurring.

If a worker suffers from a spinal cord injury, they must seek urgent medical attention.

Spinal cord injuries require immediate medical care to prevent further damage.

When possible, report the incident to supervisors and keep a record of the circumstances.

Many spinal cord injuries require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation, so employers must provide adequate time for recovery before returning to work.

Chemical Exposure

In 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) registered 36,840 cases of occupational injuries or illnesses caused by exposure to harmful substances and environments.

Construction workers are at risk for chemical exposure due to using various chemicals, such as paints, solvents, and adhesives, on job sites.

These substances can cause skin irritation, chemical burns, respiratory issues, eye damage, and even long-term health problems.

To prevent chemical exposure on construction sites, employers must provide proper training on handling and storing chemicals and the appropriate use of personal protective equipment.

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Workers must also understand the risks associated with each chemical on the job site.

Proper ventilation systems and regular air quality monitoring can also help prevent exposure to harmful fumes.

In case of chemical exposure, seek medical attention immediately.

Wash affected areas thoroughly and seek medical advice if necessary.

Report the incident to superiors and document all relevant information for future reference.

Burns, Explosions, and Heat Stress

Construction workers are at risk for burns and explosions due to using various tools and equipment on job sites.

Fires and explosions were responsible for 1,700 injuries in 2019 and 76 fatalities in 2021.

Gas leaks, electrical malfunctions, and unsafe handling of flammable substances can all lead to these types of accidents.

These accidents can also cause severe burns, respiratory damage, and other serious injuries.

Workers are also at risk for heat stress due to working in high temperatures or prolonged exposure to the sun, especially during the summer months.

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Heat stress can cause fatigue, dizziness, dehydration, and heat stroke.

To prevent burns, explosions, and heat stress on construction sites, employers must provide workers with proper training on handling tools and equipment.

Workers must also use personal protective equipment when working with hazardous materials or in extreme temperatures.

Employers must also have emergency plans in case of a fire or explosion and provide adequate breaks and access to water and shaded areas for workers, especially during hot weather.

In a fire emergency, workers must follow established safety procedures and evacuate the area immediately.

In case of a burn or explosion injury, seek medical attention immediately and inform superiors of the incident.

Employers must also conduct regular safety inspections and maintenance on equipment to prevent malfunctions that could lead to these types of accidents.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Safety Standards

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal agency that sets and enforces workplace safety regulations, including construction sites.

OSHA aims to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities by setting standards and providing resources for employers and workers.

Unfortunately, some employers cut corners and ignore safety regulations to save time and money.

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OSHA listed the 10 most frequently cited safety violations in 2022, including:

  1. Fall Protection (Construction)
  2. Hazard Communication (General industry)
  3. Ladders (Construction)
  4. Respiratory Protection (General industry)
  5. Scaffolding (Construction)
  6. Control of Hazardous Energy (lockout/tagout) (General industry)
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks (General industry)
  8. Fall Protection Training (Construction)
  9. Eye and Face Protection (Construction)
  10. Machinery and Machine Guarding (General industry)

Most of these violations occurred in the construction industry, which resulted in many serious injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.

Employers face severe penalties and fines for violating OSHA standards, including potential shutdowns of job sites.

Injured workers and surviving family members of wrongful deaths also pursue legal actions against employers who failed to follow OSHA standards.

Legal Aspects of Construction Injuries

Victims of construction injuries not only face physical and emotional challenges but also financial burdens, such as medical expenses and lost wages.

Injuries can also result in long-term disabilities that affect the victim’s ability to work and earn a livelihood.

Additionally, family members may have to deal with the loss of income from an injured worker or potential funeral costs if the injury results in death.

Injured workers or surviving family members of construction fatalities may be entitled to compensation for their losses.

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Depending on the circumstances, they can file a workers’ compensation claim and/or pursue a personal injury lawsuit against responsible parties, such as employers, contractors, or equipment manufacturers.

In some cases, it may also be possible to hold third-party entities, such as architects or engineers who designed an unsafe structure, liable for construction injuries.

The Importance of a Construction Accident Lawyer

Construction accident lawyers play a pivotal role in assisting victims of construction injuries.

Construction injury lawyers specialize in personal injury litigation and can provide invaluable support in navigating the complex legal landscape surrounding such cases.

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An experienced construction accidents lawyer can help victims with the following:

  • Workers’ Compensation Claims: Attorneys help injured workers file workers’ compensation claims to ensure they receive the benefits they are entitled to.
  • Third-party Liability: In cases where a third party (not the employer) is responsible for the injury, your lawyers can pursue additional compensation through third-party liability claims.
  • Investigation and Evidence Collection: A personal injury legal team will conduct thorough investigations to establish liability and gather evidence crucial to the case.
  • Negotiation: Lawyers can negotiate with insurance companies and other parties to secure fair compensation for their clients.
  • Legal Expertise: Lawyers possess specialized knowledge of construction laws and regulations, enabling them to navigate the complexities of construction accident cases.
  • Trial Representation: If a resolution cannot be reached in negotiations, a lawyer can represent clients in court and fight for their rights to full and fair compensation.

If you’re a victim of a construction injury, having a construction injury lawyer by your side can significantly increase your chances of receiving fair compensation.

TorHoerman Law: Your Trusted Partner in Construction Injury Cases

If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, TorHoerman Law is here to help.

We specialize in construction accident lawsuits and are committed to securing justice and fair compensation for injured workers.

Our team of experienced construction injury lawyers will handle every aspect of your case, with our aim of securing you a full and fair recovery.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

You can also use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for the construction accident lawsuit instantly.

Tor Hoerman

Tor Hoerman

Owner & Attorney - TorHoerman Law

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