Construction sites are a dangerous place, and if all safety procedures aren’t followed each and every day, it is often the men and women who are working that pay the price. This article explains how construction injuries happen and what you can do about it.
Hundreds of construction workers are injured in South Carolina each year. If you were injured in a construction accident, we are here to help. At the Law Office of Kenneth Berger, we pride ourselves on our client communication and our drive to make sure no stone goes unturned in your case so that the responsible person or party may be held accountable. Contact us today for a free consultation by calling our Columbia, SC office at 803-790-2800 or our Myrtle Beach, SC office at 843-427-2800. We look forward to speaking with you and seeing how we can help.
How common are construction injuries?
According to OSHA, 2.8 out of every 100 construction workers will be injured throughout their career. A worker in construction for 45 years has a 1 in 200 chance of being injured fatally. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports about 150,000 construction site accidents each year. Workers between 25 and 34 are most likely to be injured in a construction site accident.
What are some common injuries associated with construction accidents in South Carolina?
A construction site is an inherently hazardous place. Under the right conditions, when safety protocol is followed, there is still the possibility of human error or unexpected dangers due to the nature of the industry. Some of the common injuries associated with construction work are:
- Fractured and broken bones
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Chemical exposure illnesses
- Brain and head injuries
- Eye injury and vision damage
- Cuts and lacerations
- Repetitive motion accidents
- Heat stroke and overexertion
- Lead poisoning
- Respiratory diseases
- Limb amputation
- Hearing damage
- Stress and strain
- Nerve damage
- Cardiac arrest
If you have suffered any of the above injuries, or any not listed, on a construction site while at work, your employer should ensure you receive the medical treatment you need, pay for lost wages, and anything else you need to get back to work in a timely manner. If you feel your needs are not being met, it may be time to talk to an attorney. You can reach our South Carolina construction accident attorneys in Columbia at 803-790-2800 and in Myrtle Beach at 843-427-2800 for a free case evaluation.
What are common causes of construction injuries?
Construction injuries can happen because of a variety of hazards on a construction jobsite. In many cases, negligence on the part of another contractor or co-worker lead to injuries caused by various objects on or near a jobsite. The most common causes of construction injuries are:
- Falls, slips, and trips
- Struck by objects
- Caught in/between objects
- Machinery and equipment
- Hazardous noise levels
- Electrical sources
- Ground collapse
- Repetitive muscle and joint use
- Heat and stress
Keep reading for more information on how these conditions can cause harm on a construction site.
Falls, Slips, and Trips
Falls are the most common cause for injury on a construction site. Severity depends on how far the fall was and other conditions about the fall. In some scenarios, safety measures and equipment are put in place. In others, this is not an option. Most falls on construction sites are the result of uneven surfaces, improper mounting and dismounting from equipment, improper ladder use or from the lack of using fall protection equipment. Worksites are often disorganized and disheveled places, and it is common for workers to slip or trip on materials lying around if they are not careful or if there has been a spill. Slips and trips are often caused by misplaced items or spills and leaks. These trips and slips can sometimes cause major injuries.
Struck by Objects
Struck by accidents occur when an object forcefully hits a worker, causing injury. Common hazards causing struck by accidents include flying, falling, swinging, or rolling objects. These accidents are often caused by demolition debris.
Caught In/Between Objects
Caught in/between injuries happen when someone is stuck between two objects, often a vehicle and a wall, or a limb or other body part of a worker gets caught in machinery.
Machinery and Equipment
Machinery injuries occur even when construction workers are well trained on the equipment they are using sometimes due to malfunctions or accidents. In other scenarios, a person who has not been properly trained will sometimes try to use machinery and hurt themselves or someone else in the process.
Hazardous Noise Levels
Hazardous noise levels on a jobsite can also cause injury if proper hearing protection is not worn. Three out of four construction workers will experience noise levels of higher than 85 decibels, enough to cause hearing damage, at work.
Often, traffic is caused by construction rerouting roads. In these cases, a driver who is agitated at the traffic or simply not paying attention can be driving recklessly and hit a construction worker.
Electrocutions sometimes occur on job sites that are near power sources and electrical lines. Though there is signage and warning, it is easy for workers to accidentally hit them with machinery and equipment, which can result in injury. Most electrocution injuries are in the form of burns. It can also lead to nerve damage or cardiac arrest, however.
Ground collapse injuries can occur when a crew needs to disturb a large portion of the soil on a jobsite. Sometimes this disturbance results in movement or instability of the ground near where the soil was removed or otherwise altered. If the ground collapses while workers are present, they could experience serious injury.
Repetitive Motor Injuries
Repetitive motor injuries can occur in any line of work, but they tend to occur on a larger scale than most industries in construction due to the type of materials and equipment used. The back is a common area for repetitive motor injury in a construction setting.
Heat stress and heat-related illnesses can pose serious health risks, but they are often overlooked in the construction industry. Exposure to high temperatures and physical exertion can also increase the risk of other injuries, as they can cause dizziness and disorientation.
What jobs or roles lead to the most construction accidents?
All construction jobs can be dangerous under certain conditions, but there are some roles and sites that can be inherently more dangerous than others. Some of the most dangerous roles and sites include:
- Roofing or high-rise work
- Demolition work
- Heavy equipment operators
- Sewer and duct workers
- Freight hauling/truck driving
Roofing or High-Rise Work
Roofing or high-rise work is dangerous because it places workers in high elevation. These workers may have an increased risk of falling from great heights, increasing their risk of serious, life-changing injuries. It’s very important that all safety protocols are followed by all members of the construction crew to ensure a safe working environment.
Demolition work is dangerous because there is a higher chance at a demolition site of being struck by an object than at most sites. There is also more heavy equipment and machinery being used, along with high noise levels.
Heavy Equipment Operation
Heavy equipment operators face more hazards in their roles than many other construction workers on a daily basis. They operate machines and vehicles which have the potential to seriously injure someone if they malfunction or if they do not receive adequate training before use.
Sewer and Duct Work
Sewer and duct workers perform their jobs in tight or confined spaces, leading to a greater chance of injury. They may also be exposed to hazardous or toxic chemicals, which can lead to injury or illness if proper protective gear is not worn.
Freight Hauling and Truck Driving
Freight hauling and truck driving involves the operation of heavy machinery and the transport of heavy materials. Both of these items can cause serious injury if there is any malfunction or user error.
What are the classifications of construction site injuries?
OSHA’s Four Main Hazards are the categories which encompass most construction injuries. Injuries outside of these four can and do occur, but they are less common than those which fall into these categories.
- Falls, including slips, trips, and falls
- Struck by an object
- Caught in/between
What types of machines and tools commonly cause construction injuries?
There are some machines which are inherently dangerous and could easily hurt an unskilled or untrained worker. There are others which are not dangerous unless they malfunction, but can cause injury if something goes wrong.
Ladders are the leading cause of death for construction workers, with falls accounting for approximately 40% of construction deaths each year.
Bulldozers are the second most dangerous piece of equipment or machinery on a construction site. They weigh between 8 and 104 tons and contribute to many crushing injuries. They also make a noise level which can damage workers’ hearing over time without proper ear protection. If their hearing is damaged, they may be less able to hear warnings to avoid other dangers and injuries.
Power saws are known to cause injuries because they tend to kick back when used.
Backhoes are dangerous because they have a shovel at the front, a bucket at the back, and carry a lot of weight. Workers can be struck by the front or back of the machine or caught beneath it.
Cranes are another dangerous piece of heavy equipment on the jobsite for construction workers. They can cause injuries through electrocution, being struck by crane loads, being struck by the crane itself, and collapsing.
How frequent are slips, falls, and trips in the construction industry?
Slips, falls, and trips are by far the most reported construction accident, and they range greatly in severity. Over one-third of construction deaths are falls. Nearly a third of reportable injuries in construction are slips, falls, and trips. 40% of fatalities are in this category.
Our Injury Attorneys Can Help You After a Construction Accident in South Carolina
Construction workers are exposed to hazardous conditions every day. If you were injured at work, you have the right to hold the responsible party both financially and legally accountable. Our team is here to guide you throughout your case to make sure you are treated fairly and to help you secure a full, fair recovery.
If you or someone you care about were injured in a construction site accident, contact our South Carolina injury firm to schedule a free case evaluation, call our Columbia, SC office at 803-790-2800 or our Myrtle Beach, SC office at 843-427-2800. We look forward to speaking with you.