leading causes of death in construction

What are Some of the Leading Causes Of Death Of Workers On Construction Sites?

Leading Causes Of Death In Construction

Construction sites symbolize progress and development. Yet, behind the towering structures and impressive infrastructure, a darker reality exists: construction-related fatalities. In 2021 alone, nearly 20% of fatal work injuries in the U.S. occurred in the construction sector.

This blog post will discuss the leading causes of death of workers on construction sites, providing readers with a comprehensive understanding of each major risk category. By highlighting the “Fatal Four” – falls, electrocutions, struck-by incidents, and caught-in or -between accidents – we aim to raise awareness about these preventable tragedies.

By the end of this piece, you’ll not only grasp the gravity of these statistics but also learn about the legal avenues available for affected workers and families.

Importantly, injured workers are not limited to seeking workers compensation only. They often can also seek compensation also through a third party claim against the responsible parties, such as the owner, the general contractor or other sub-contractors.

What are Some of the Leading Causes Of Worker Death on Construction Sites?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the leading causes of worker deaths on construction sites can be categorized into the “Fatal Four”: falls, struck-by incidents, electrocutions, and caught-in or -between accidents. These causes were responsible for nearly 60% of construction worker deaths in 2021.


Falls accounted for a significant 37% of construction deaths in 2021. This highlights the need for stringent fall protection measures and adherence to safety protocols. From improperly constructed scaffolding to unguarded edges, the causes of falls are diverse and often preventable.


Electrocutions resulted in approximately 8% of construction worker deaths in 2021. This alarming figure underlines the necessity of addressing electrical safety concerns on construction sites. Exposed wiring, wet conditions near outlets, contact with overhead power lines, and poorly maintained power tools contribute to these tragic incidents.

Struck-By Incidents

Struck-by incidents, wherein objects, equipment, or vehicles hit workers, also accounted for 8% of construction fatalities in 2021. From falling objects due to rigging failure to vehicle strikes, these accidents highlight the importance of safety awareness and preventive measures on construction sites.

Caught-In or -Between Accidents

Caught-in or -between accidents, which include workers getting trapped in machinery or crushed between objects, made up 5% of the fatalities. Awareness and proper training can play a crucial role in reducing these construction site accidents. From trench collapses to getting caught in rotating equipment, these incidents underscore the need for vigilance and adherence to safety procedures.

The construction industry is fraught with dangers, but understanding and addressing the leading causes of fatalities is a step toward creating a safer work environment. By focusing on the “Fatal Four” and implementing rigorous safety measures, construction sites can become less perilous for workers. Beyond mere statistics, each life saved is a triumph in the pursuit of a safer construction industry.

Construction-Related Fatalities: A Stark Reality

In 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 5,190 fatal work injuries in the United States, with almost 20% of these occurring in the construction sector.

In the bustling world of construction, fatalities are a tragic yet prevalent outcome. Skyscrapers, roads, and residential properties all stand as symbols of progress, but the cost of human life is often overlooked.

It is essential to bring awareness to the deaths that occur during the construction of these structures and take steps to prevent them. The statistics indicate that construction remains one of the most dangerous professions, second only to transportation and materials handling.

Moreover, these figures shed light on the pressing need for stringent safety measures and regulations in the construction industry. Each statistic represents a life lost and a family grieving. Understanding the gravity of these numbers is crucial for implementing changes and fostering a safer working environment.

Importance of Fall Protection Measures

A significant percentage of fatalities in the construction industry result from falls, underscoring the urgency of implementing robust fall protection measures.

This commitment to safety should extend from high-rise construction sites to smaller residential projects. Consistent enforcement of safety protocols, such as harness usage and secure scaffolding, can create an environment where workers feel protected and are less prone to accidents.

In light of the substantial number of fall-related fatalities, employers should invest in safety training sessions focusing on fall prevention. These training sessions can address the nuances of various construction environments, ensuring that each worker is equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to operate safely at different heights and under varying conditions.

Additionally, OSHA mandates comprehensive standards aimed at preventing falls in the construction industry. Compliance with these standards is not merely a legal obligation but is essential to ensuring worker safety. Standards include provisions for guardrails, safety nets, pe, and the like, all tailored to safeguard employees from the risk of falling.

Identifying Electrocution Risks on Construction Sites

Electrocution risks are prevalent in construction, marked by potential electrical hazards like exposed wiring and wet conditions near outlets.

Awareness and proper training can drastically minimize these risks, ensuring that workers are familiar with the electrical components they encounter daily.

A comprehensive approach to identifying electrocution risks involves regular site inspections, immediate repair or removal of faulty equipment, and proper labeling of electrical components. Workers should also be trained to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions that may lead to electrocutions.

OSHA’s electrical standards are designed to safeguard workers from electrical hazards on construction sites. These standards stipulate proper grounding, correct use and maintenance of equipment, and appropriate safety practices when working near electrical sources.

By rigorously adhering to these standards, employers can ensure that workers are less likely to encounter hazardous electrical conditions. This commitment to safety can also lead to a more confident and productive workforce, knowing that their well-being is a priority.

Understanding the Risks of Being Struck By Objects

Struck-by incidents often result from falling or misplaced objects and can lead to serious, sometimes fatal, injuries.

By examining previous incidents and near misses, employers can identify patterns and potential hazards. This data-driven approach allows for the implementation of targeted safety measures to prevent future struck-by incidents.

A holistic approach to mitigating struck-by hazards involves implementing stringent safety protocols. This includes mandatory usage of protective gear, proper storage and securing of materials, and clearly marked danger zones around heavy equipment.

Workplace design can also contribute to safety. Ensuring clear lines of sight, adequate lighting, and proper signage can significantly reduce the risk of struck-by incidents.

The Dangers of Getting Caught In or Between

Getting caught in or between objects can have tragic outcomes and usually occur when construction workers find themselves trapped or crushed between several objects or machinery.

Implementing preventative measures, such as machine guarding and safe work practices, can significantly reduce the likelihood of these incidents.

Preventing caught-in or -between incidents involves implementing safety precautions such as proper training, machine guarding, and regular safety checks. Additionally, creating and enforcing safety protocols regarding working around heavy machinery and equipment can help prevent such incidents.

Preparedness through regular training is a cornerstone of construction safety. Training sessions should cover all aspects of safety, including hazard recognition, proper use of construction safety equipment, and emergency response procedures.

Legal Help for Construction Workers

When it comes to understanding construction worker fatalities, legal support becomes indispensable for those affected by the incident.

The intricacies of the construction industry, coupled with the potential hazards it encompasses, necessitate a nuanced approach to legal redress. Construction sites are rife with potential dangers, and when accidents do occur, the repercussions can be far-reaching and devastating. For individuals and families grappling with the aftermath of such accidents, having a robust legal ally can prove to be invaluable.

Legal assistance serves as an anchor, offering guidance and support during challenging times. It provides a pathway through the often confusing and bureaucratic processes involved in seeking compensation and justice. The importance of timely legal advice cannot be understated. In situations where a wrongful death claim or an injury claim needs to be filed, having knowledgeable legal counsel is paramount.

Construction workers, often exposed to precarious conditions, must arm themselves with an understanding of their legal rights and options. When accidents occur, victims may find themselves facing not only physical and emotional distress but also financial burdens. Medical bills, loss of income, and rehabilitation costs can add up, creating a situation that is overwhelming for many.

Understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities

Being well-informed about your rights and responsibilities is crucial for construction workers. It equips them with the knowledge necessary to safeguard their well-being and ensures that they are treated justly. Below are some of the key aspects that every construction worker should be aware of:

  • Safe Working Environment: Construction workers have a fundamental right to a secure and safe working environment. Employers must take necessary precautions, such as ensuring machinery is in good condition and safety measures are in place.
  • Active Construction Permits: Employers are obligated to obtain and adhere to active construction permits, ensuring that all activities comply with the necessary legal and safety standards. Workers should be aware of these permits as they indicate adherence to safety regulations and protocols.
  • Hazards in Construction: Being aware of potential hazards in construction, such as falls, equipment malfunction, or exposure to hazardous materials, is crucial. Workers should be trained to recognize and mitigate these risks effectively.
  • Right to Compensation: If injured on the job due to negligence or unsafe conditions, construction workers have the right to seek compensation. Understanding the procedures to file for compensation and the documentation required is essential for a smooth process.
  • Responsibilities: Workers also have responsibilities, such as adhering to safety protocols, using protective equipment, and reporting unsafe conditions or practices promptly. Being proactive in fulfilling these responsibilities can contribute to a safer work environment.

Construction workers should be proactive in understanding their rights and responsibilities. This knowledge not only ensures their safety but also empowers them to take necessary actions, such as seeking compensation, in the event of an incident.

When to Seek Legal Assistance in Construction-Related Incidents

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that gives financial support to employees injured on-site, including those affected by some of the leading causes of death in construction.

Early legal advice can be crucial, especially when dealing with time-sensitive evidence and legal deadlines. Quick action ensures that essential details, such as the scene of the accident, witness accounts, and any potentially faulty equipment, are documented accurately and timely.

Initiating the legal process swiftly can also aid in addressing any immediate financial concerns, such as medical bills and wage loss, which can alleviate some of the stress faced by victims and their families. Moreover, certain legal claims have specific time constraints for filing, and missing these deadlines can jeopardize the case.

Thus, consulting with an attorney shortly after an incident occurs is a strategic move that can enhance the robustness of your case and facilitate a smoother pursuit of justice and compensation.

Workers’ Compensation and Third party claims, injured workers can often seek compensation from both types of claims: Navigating the Legal Process

Injured workers can seek compensation both through workers compensation and third party claims, depending on the facts of the case. 

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides financial support to employees injured on the job, including those affected by some of the leading causes of death in construction. 

However, the process of filing and receiving compensation can be cumbersome and fraught with challenges. An experienced lawyer can help simplify this process, ensuring that all requirements are met, and compensation is secured efficiently.

Accidents such as falls, electrocutions, or being struck by objects are prevalent and can lead to debilitating injuries or even death. In such instances, workers and their families need prompt and adequate compensation to address immediate and long-term needs.

The law mandates employers to give workers’ compensation benefits, covering medical costs and lost wages for employees injured on the job. This is particularly relevant in construction, where the nature of work exposes employees to higher risks. The law aims to safeguard the interests of the workforce, recognizing that some injuries might prevent workers from resuming work in the same capacity or at all.

However, despite legal obligations, workers often encounter difficulties in claiming these benefits. Delays, underpayments, or outright denials can exacerbate the situation, leaving workers and their families in financial and emotional distress.

Understanding who is covered under the workers’ compensation insurance, whether there is also a third party claim that can be brought,  the extent of the injuries, and the disability classifications, such as Temporary Total Disability or Permanent Partial Disability, is vital. Legal professionals can assist in ensuring that the compensation received accurately reflects the severity of the injury and the potential loss of future earnings.

How to Choose the Right Construction Injury Attorney

When choosing the right construction injury attorney, consider their experience, client feedback, understanding of construction jobs, and their fee structure.

  • Experience: Evaluate the lawyer’s track record in handling cases related to construction worker fatalities or injuries. Assess their understanding and knowledge of construction accident law and regulations.
  • Client Testimonials: Look for client testimonials or reviews to gauge the satisfaction of previous clients. Positive feedback can indicate the attorney’s success in handling cases similar to yours.
  • Approach to Construction Jobs-Related Cases: Assess how the lawyer approaches cases related to construction jobs. Ensure that they demonstrate a thorough understanding and knowledge of the complex industry and the unique challenges it presents.
  • Attentiveness and Communication: The right attorney should be attentive to your needs and concerns. Clear, consistent, and transparent communication is crucial in understanding the progress and potential outcomes of your case.
  • Commitment: Your chosen lawyer should be dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome for your case. They should be prepared to explore all avenues, including negotiation and court proceedings, if necessary.
  • Fee Structure: Understand the lawyer’s fee structure and ensure it aligns with your budget. Some construction accident lawyers may work on a contingency fee basis, and they will only accept payment if you win your case.

Taking the time to consider these aspects can greatly assist in selecting the right construction injury attorney who is well-suited to represent your interests effectively and efficiently.

Contact Daniella Levi & Associates, P.C. to Explore Your Legal Options

Daniella Levi & Associates, P.C. provides free initial consultations, allowing you to discuss your situation without any obligation. Financial constraints won’t hinder your pursuit of justice, as we work on a contingency fee basis, getting paid only when you do.

We are known for our aggressive pursuit of high-dollar verdicts and awards, both in and out of the courtroom, ensuring you get the justice you deserve. Moreover, we recognize that your concerns may arise at any time, which is why we are always available, 24/7, to address your needs.

Don’t Navigate This Journey Alone: Choose Advocacy That Cares

Take the first step today. Call 718-380-7440 now for a free consultation. Let us be your steadfast advocates during this challenging time, aggressively protecting your rights while you focus on healing. Explore your legal options with a team that truly cares.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common types of construction accidents?

Common construction accidents include ladder falls, scaffolding incidents, injuries from falling objects, crane and forklift malfunctions, and burns or injuries from electrocution and explosions.

If I’m covered under workers’ compensation, can I still recover additional compensation?

Yes. If a third party (other entity than your employer), such as the general contractor, failed in their safety responsibilities, or if the equipment did not meet standards, you may be eligible for extra compensation.

What should I avoid doing after a construction accident?

Avoiding documentation or not collecting evidence can weaken your claim. Ensure you make a note of all relevant details, take photos of the scene and your injuries, and collect witness information.

How do I start the claims process with Daniella Levi & Associates, P.C.?

After scheduling a free consultation with our team, we will fully guide you through the initial phases of filing court papers and proceed through the evidence-gathering process.

Is going to court always necessary?

No. When possible, we aim to settle out of court. However, if a fair settlement cannot be reached, we are prepared to aggressively represent you in court.

For all correspondence, please use the Queens office address.

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