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Certified Health & Safety Consultant Canadian Red Cross Canadian Society of Safety Engineering

Common Construction Injuries

Common Construction Injuries

When working a construction job you know there are going to be accidents that occur.  Very few companies have ever had no injuries on their job sites.  With so many things going on at one time you can easily become mixed up and an array of bad injuries can result.

Injuries on constructions sites leave both parties, the construction workers and the construction company, in a bad position.  Many times the worker is unable to go to work for an extended period of time and therefore files a law suit against the construction company for causing the injury.

This causes both sides to spend money that they should not be and result in both parties worse off.  Even if the worker is compensated, most times compensation comes from an injury that cannot be healed and becomes a lifelong burden.

How Many Injuries Occur?

Here are some of the most common construction accidents that occur on a regular basis.  There were over 4 million work injuries last year alone so these injuries are not one in a million.  Many of these injuries occur regularly and should be of great concern.

Within these 4 million injuries are deaths as well.  An average of 1,000 workers die every year on construction sites according to the Phillips National Injury Group.  Having people die while you are managing a project is something no one ever wants to happen.  Having someone die from causes that are not natural and is under your watch is one of the worst situations to be in.  If a death occurs on a construction site you can almost guarantee a lawsuit as well, especially if the worker has immediate family.

Avoiding Deaths

Now we need to look at the most common ways that these deaths occur in order to take every measure possible to prevent them from happening.  An average of 300 deaths on construction sites are caused by falls.  Those three hundred deaths comprise the largest percentage out of those 1,000 deaths.  Falls are some of the most avoidable injuries as well.  These usually occur from the worker being improperly informed of procedures such as how to strap on a harness or how to operate the boom on a lift.

Keep Workers Informed

Keeping workers properly informed is an essential piece of safety for every company.  You can give them every resource about safety but if they are not required to read the safety information or go through training then that is when accidents happen.  This is where many companies get into trouble when lawsuits occur.  They give all of the safety information to their workers and expect them to learn it properly but this does not always follow through like it should.

Falls by crane operators are some of the most common and these are some of the most avoidable as well.  An improperly informed crane operator can wreak havoc on a construction site.  A crane operator can make or break a construction project.  Many times they move huge structures with pinpoint precision.  But when a crane operator does not hit their mark perfectly things can go seriously wrong, especially when the crane operator is sitting in the cab a hundred feet in the air.

Scaffolding falls are also a major point of concern.  The scaffolding is set up by the construction workers as a temporary framework used to support them through the project.  Since the scaffolding is set up by construction workers, many times the improper use of it falls directly on the construction company.

Falling Objects

A second way common construction site injuries occur is from falling objects.  Overhead work can be some of the most dangerous because there are constantly workers below.  Improperly hanging pipes can result in serious injuries to workers even in designated hard hat areas.  Even the process of hanging drywall in residential homes presents a potential major issue.

Whenever pre-cast concrete is being moved around crane operators need to be on point.  As said before, many injuries occur from crane operators improperly doing their job.  Massive pre-cast concrete parts can easily crush workers if they are not attached to the crane properly or if the crane operator controls the crane with too many jerks.

Let’s play the numbers game for a second.  65 percent of construction workers work with scaffolding.  That works out to 2.3 million construction workers according to Phillips National Injury Group.  72 percent of scaffolding injuries resulted from a plank or board giving way while the worker was on top of them.  Again all of these injuries can easily be prevented with the proper training of construction workers to assemble the scaffolding correctly.  We use scaffolding because it works well when it is assembled properly but when it is not it presents substantial problems.

Keep in Mind

Construction injuries are pervasive in the industry when compared to many other industries.  Although they are pervasive, they are also very avoidable.  Keeping workers informed is a huge part in the effort to reduce construction site injuries.  If you do so it will benefit both the worker and the company.

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By Brian Connor

Brian Connor has written many articles for construction blogs.  He wants to make people aware of the potential dangers on construction sites as well as how to avoid them.  Materials handling SLC is a great way to improve your construction business too.