Construction sites are common all over Los Angeles. It seems like we can’t drive very far without seeing scaffolding and construction crews at work. Not only do construction workers have one of the most physically demanding jobs, they also have one of the most dangerous. Yes, construction industry safety standards are strict, but the sector still accounts for its fair share of work injuries and even deaths.
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a construction accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at The Dominguez Firm for a free consultation at 800-818-1818 right away. We can travel to your home or hospital at a moment’s notice.
Below you’ll find out more about construction accidents, what causes them, how to prevent them and your rights if you or someone close to you were injured in a construction worksite accident.
Construction accident injury and death statistics
Every year, thousands of construction workers throughout the U.S. are injured or killed on the job. Some of the statistics are sobering:
- According to OSHA,approximately 20% of all worker deaths in 2019 were in construction. That works out to 1 in 5 worker deaths.
- Falls are the biggest cause of injury for construction workers.
- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 29,000 construction accident injuries in California for 2019.
- 12,000 of those workers injured required time away from work.
- 8,800 of those workers had to be transferred or reassigned to other roles.
- Construction workers between the ages of 25-34 accounted for the majority of accident injuries.
What are the 10 biggest risks in construction?
Identifying the biggest safety risks goes a long way towards providing a safer construction workplace.
Personal safety risks – These are the most important hazards to assess since they involve the highest risk of injuries. Ensuring that a work site is up to code and meets all of OSHA’s safety regulations can greatly reduce the risk of injuries to workers.
Risks associated with use of equipment – Being around cranes, bulldozers and cement trucks comes with its own inherent risks. Making sure all equipment, whether heavy or light is properly maintained and operated is important to preventing construction site accidents and deaths.
Proper safety training – Management should make sure safety training is ongoing and updated to account for new equipment and safety standards. Not every company or employee does this, which increases hazard risks on construction sites.
What are the most common construction accidents?
Construction accidents can happen, even with safety rules in place. Some of the most common construction accidents are:
Falls – Construction workers often work on ladders or at high elevations. Any fall can cause catastrophic injuries. Even something as simple as a slippery floor can lead to a fall and injuries.
Electrocution – Electricians working on wiring are usually part of a construction site. Accidentally coming into contact with those live wires or other electrical equipment can lead to burns and even death for any worker.
Equipment accidents – A malfunction or improper use of the heavy machinery found on a construction site can lead to injuries and death. Even smaller equipment, such as a staple gun can be dangerous if something goes wrong.
Falling objects – This is common in building construction sites where workers may be on several different floors. A dropped hammer or piece of debris can cause serious injuries, no matter how far it falls.
Struck-buy accidents – This is the term OSHA uses to refer to construction workers who are hit by an object that is swinging, rolling, flying or falling. The most common (and scary) example is a construction worker hit by a swinging beam. Being struck by a vehicle also falls into this category.
Caught-in accidents – Being caught or crushed between objects would be considered a caught-in construction accident. Examples include being trapped by collapsing walls. These accidents can lead to catastrophic crush injuries or death.
Trenching accidents – According to OSHA, the number of worker deaths while trenching or excavating doubled between 2011-2016. To help prevent worker deaths in the future, OSHA has created new worker training guides to avoid cave-ins and collapses.
Does my employer have to comply to any new regulations due to COVID-19?
Yes. As a construction worker, you are considered an essential worker. That means your employer must follow enhanced safety measures that are up to date for 2021 to make sure all employees are working in an environment free of COVID-19.
The California Labor Board and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) have enacted regulations that specifically address COVID-19 health concerns at construction work sites. Among the most notable are:
- Place multiple hand sanitizers and wash stations at the work site.
- Require face coverings from everyone on the job and anyone entering the work site.
- Maintain a daily log of every person who enters the worksite. That includes all employees and visitors. This should be standard policy at any worksite.
- Employees are obligated to inform their supervisors if someone in their household has COVID-19.
- Maintain social distancing in high-traffic and choke point areas such as elevators and break areas.
- Maintain social distancing when receiving deliveries of materials or equipment.
- Send home anyone exhibiting or complaining of coronavirus-like symptoms.
- Require any employee who feels sick to stay home to ensure the safety of other workers.
- The site owner or contractor should designate a COVID-19 Supervisor to make sure regulations are being adhered to. The Supervisor can be a current onsite worker.
If you do contract COVID-19, your employer must maintain your privacy and not reveal your name to the other workers, just that someone contracted COVID-19.
What are the five levels of hazard control?
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the CDC have developed a chart that breaks down the five levels of hazard control for workers in order of importance. Controlling these five levels can help protect all workers, including construction workers from workplace hazards and injuries. They are:
- Elimination of hazards – Removing a hazard from a worksite is the most effective method of hazard control. It sounds so simple, but sometimes a dangerous situation that can easily be remedied is overlooked.
- Substitution of hazards – Replacing one piece of equipment or material for a safer version of the same helps improve workplace safety greatly.
- Engineering controls – This represents safety barriers or equipment meant to protect workers from hazards. And example would be a guardrail.
- Administrative controls – This stands for employee training, visible signage and keeping up to date with evolving safety regulations.
- Personal protective equipment – While not as effective as the other five controls, making sure construction workers wear the proper protective equipment also helps reduce worker injuries.
How can construction accidents be prevented?
Given all of the heavy equipment and machinery on a worksite, construction accidents will happen. Fortunately, the number of construction accidents and deaths have gone down. However, keeping that downward trend requires minimizing the dangers workers face. Adhering to safety regulation can help greatly. Some best practices include:
- Prevent falls – As noted, this is the leading cause of construction accident injuries and deaths. Safety features such as screens, nets and sturdy scaffolding can all help. Making sure all safety features are properly installed and regularly inspected is also vital.
- Have a clean work site – No one should slip and fall because of a disorganized work site. Keeping common areas clear can avoid these totally avoidable accidents from happening.
- Wear the right clothes and gear for the job – Construction workers should wear the right protective gear and clothes for their assigned job. That includes goggles, gloves, hard hats and for certain jobs, such as welding, the proper safety equipment.
- Properly maintain all equipment – There should be a set inspection schedule for all equipment and tools. Give the size and weight of much of the equipment on a construction site, any malfunction can seriously injure or even kill a worker.
- Require safe driving of all vehicles – Every type of vehicle enters and exits a construction site on any given day. Whether it be a worker, delivery person or outside party, everyone must adhere to safe driving practices at all times.
- Require safety training – All workers should be properly trained on the equipment they operate. They should also know the hazards they may encounter on the job. Finally, everyone should know all current safety standards and what to do if someone is injured.
- Assess the risk hazards – Work site inspections should occur before work begins. Once any hazards are identified, preventive measures should be taken. Workers should always be kept informed and trained in how to deal with any safety hazards they may encounter.
- Report any dangerous work conditions – If there are safety violations on a work site, you are well within your rights to report them to OSHA. And keep in mind, your employer cannot punish you or fire you for doing so. If they do, they could face a retaliation lawsuit.
I lost a loved one in a construction accident. Can The Dominguez Firm help me?
Yes. If you are the next of kin of the deceased, you would have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible for your loss. Filing a lawsuit for a loved one’s sudden death may not seem like a priority. However, obtaining compensation can help a family struggling financially due to their loved one’s death. It can also provide a measure of justice for them at such a difficult time.
I am an undocumented immigrant that was injured while working at a construction site. Can the Dominguez Firm do anything for me?
Yes. Your construction accident injury has nothing to do with your immigration status. You can file an accident injury claim against those responsible for your work accident. And the fact that you are an undocumented immigrant cannot be used against you. The construction accident lawyers at The Dominguez Firm are well aware of this and are ready to make sure your rights are protected throughout the duration of your case.
You can afford to hire the construction accident lawyers at The Dominguez Firm.
If you were injured in a construction accident, you’re most likely dealing with economic difficulties right now. You may be unable to work for weeks or even months and are the main provider for your family.
Hiring attorneys and worrying about legal fees is probably not something you can deal with right now. The good news is you don’t have to. You can hire the construction accident injury lawyers at The Dominguez Firm. That’s because we work on a contingency basis. When you become our client, you sign a representation agreement that clearly outlines the percentage we receive of your final verdict or settlement. That’s how we get paid. And that percentage is fixed, no matter the final amount of your settlement or verdict. You also don’t have to worry about any upfront fees, out of pocket expenses or hidden costs.
One of the most common questions we get is, “what happens if you aren’t able to recover anything for me, do I owe you anything?” That’s highly unlikely, but if that does happen, we stand by our promise: if there is no recovery, there is no fee. So you would owe us nothing.
Construction accidents are usually serious. Don’t go it alone. Call the construction accident attorneys at The Dominguez Firm today for a FREE consultation at 800-818-1818. We are available to take your call 24/7.