At Dugan & Associates, we manage a huge amount of construction-related injuries. The number of construction-related accidents in the Pittsburgh region is truly terrifying, and the stories keep popping up in the news. Last October, a construction worker was killed when he was struck by a suspended piece of equipment. In February, a construction worker in West End fell three stories down an elevator shaft. In June, a construction worker was hit by a car while directing traffic in Highland Park.
Those numbers are only a small sample of the on-the-job incidents construction workers suffer every year in Pennsylvania. The industry experienced 8,100 injuries in 2017 alone, 2,900 of which led to missed work days and 1,000 of which resulted in job transfers or other restrictions.
These accidents lead to more than missed time from work. They interfere with paychecks, disrupt family life, and even cause people to lose mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters.
Common Construction Injury Causes
Some of the most common causes we see for construction injuries are:
- Falling objects
- Equipment-related accidents
- Backovers from vehicles
- Fires and explosions
- Trench or building collapses
- Repetitive motions
- Airborne particles
When it comes to fatal injuries, the list is much shorter. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) maintains a “Fatal Four” list to capture the leading causes of workplace-related deaths. They are:
- Falls (39.2% of all construction deaths in 2017)
- Struck by object (8.2%)
- Electrocutions (7.3%)
- Caught-in/between (5.1%)
Common Construction Injuries
Due to the heavy equipment and other hazards present in construction zones, injuries on the job are often extremely painful. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common injuries are:
- Burns and scarring
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Broken, fractured, or crushed bones
- Limb or digit loss
- Loss of hearing
- Stress injuries
- Heat stroke
- Vision loss
Preventing Injuries on Construction Sites
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Many construction injuries, like amputations, don’t have a perfect cure that can restore the victim to 100% health. Prevention is the best way to keep construction workers safe.
We’ve highlighted some of the biggest injury-prevention techniques in the past, including:
- wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE)
- abiding by lockout/tagout rules
- reviewing proper lifting techniques
Other steps you can take on the job to prevent injuries are:
- Hold morning toolbox talks. Regular safety reviews will keep workers safety-minded throughout the day, and it will help you address safety issues as they pop up before they become bad habits. Holding them in the morning gives you the opportunity to catch people before they get started for the day.
- Stretch regularly. Stretching throughout the day keeps muscles limber, which may assist in avoiding sudden hazards. In addition, stretching can help ward off repetitive motion injuries. The best times to stretch are before the workday, during lunch, and again at the end of the day to help soothe sore muscles and tendons.
- Keep the work site clean. Moving debris and spills will help prevent slips, trips, and falls—major causes of construction-related injuries. In addition, workers should put away tools and equipment when they’re not in use.
*These are recommendations. For more help, seek the advice of an expert.
Managing Construction Injuries
If you or someone you love has been injured on the job, we want to help ensure you receive the financial compensation you’re entitled to. Contact us to discuss your rights.