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What are the main causes of accidents in construction? 

Michael Agruss

Written and Reviewed by Michael Agruss

  • Managing Partner and Personal Injury Lawyer at Mike Agruss Law.
  • Over 20 years of experience in Personal Injury.
  • Over 8000+ consumer rights cases settled.
  • Graduated from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law: Juris Doctor, 2004.


The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) reports that there were 4,479 worker fatalities in the private sector industry in 2018. Of that number, 1,008 or 21.1% were in construction. There are numerous reasons for accidents and fatalities on the construction site, however, OSHA names “The Fatal Four” as responsible for nearly three out of five construction worker deaths. These accidents include falls (33.5%), struck-by-objects (11.1%), caught in/between (5.5%), and electrocution (8.5%). 

Many construction accidents may be attributed to some sort of negligence, unsafe working conditions, lack of protective safeguards, and improper use of tools/equipment.

In addition to “The Fatal Four”, the following accident are most commonly seen on construction sites:

  • Slip and falls – These are among the most common types of accidents seen on construction sites and typically involve uncovered holes or trenches, exposed stakes, cords, and unattended equipment.
  • Ladder accidents – This type of accidents is the leading cause of long-term disability and commonly occur when workers are using the wrong ladder for the job, the ladder is defective, the ladder is set up incorrectly, used on slippery surfaces, or the ladder suddenly shifts and the construction worker loses their balance, causing a fall.
  • Scaffolding accidents – According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 72% of scaffolding accidents can be attributed to the supports or planking giving way or the worker being struck by a falling object.
  • Power tool/machinery accidents – These accidents mainly occur because of mechanical defects, electrical failure, lack of safety equipment, inadequate training, or electrical failure.
  • Musculoskeletal injuries – Construction work is hard on the body and puts significant strain on the muscles, nerves, and joints of the workers’ bodies.
  • Vehicle accidents – Construction site vehicles are large, heavy, and dangerous and include backhoes, grinders, loaders, dump trucks, and forklifts. Drivers of large vehicles must keep their attention to the area around them or crushing accidents can occur. Falls from high vehicles are also common. 

Construction sites are dangerous, but with common sense and preventative measures, these accidents could be prevented. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to negligence on the job site or a defective product, an experienced personal injury lawyer can review your claim and determine if there were unsafe working conditions, potential OSHA violations, and other hazards that may have existed at the time of your accident. They will also determine who may be liable for your injuries and damages and what compensation you may be entitled to.

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