Everyone is aware that construction business is one of the most dangerous in the United States, and certainly that is the case here in Texas. Workplace Accidents of all types happen almost every day, with outcomes ranging from a small cut on a finger to paralysis that lasts a lifetime. Here, our San Antonio construction accident lawyers take a look at the most common causes of construction accidents throughout Texas in order starting with the most common:
1. Accidental Falls From Height
Because a lot of construction work is done at a distance from the ground, injuries from falls are far too common. Recently, studies have shown that falls from scaffolds are now the most common cause cited in construction accidents. When a worker falls from a height greater than six feet above ground, the injuries the worker can incur can range from bruises and broken bones to fatal injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has strict safety requirements regarding the use of scaffolds and the use of devices to prevent falls. For example, OSHA requires that any scaffold and all its components must be able to support at least four times that of the intended load and the suspension ropes must support six times the intended load. Your employer has a duty to provide a safe workplace, so take care not to agree to unsafe situations when it comes to working from heights.
Another common hazard at many construction sites is exposed live wires, which can cause electrocution when a worker comes in contact, which has the potential to cause a fatality. Electrocutions are very common on construction sites, and are a serious danger. These can also happen when powerful electrical equipment is not properly maintained.
3. Workers Injured by Falling Objects
Workers dropping tools or other heavy objects without securing them are also a major cause of construction accidents. If you’re working on a construction site, you should always wear a hard hat, at least, because falling objects, including tools or construction materials dropped from a height are the third-most common cause of a construction-related injury in the state of Texas, and they can lead to serious injuries and possibly, death.
4. Exposure to Harmful Chemicals and Other Materials
Construction sites often have plenty of harmful chemicals and other materials on them which means there is always the risk of exposure to toxic materials, including breathing in harmful materials, ranging from carbon monoxide, solvents containing carcinogens, lead, and even asbestos. When a construction worker come in contact with these substances, they may suffer immediate injury, such as lung damage, inhalation injuries, or the exposure could cause long-term issues, such as chronic lung disease or even cancers. In the worst cases, death.
5. Explosions and Fires
At many construction sites, there’s a better than average chance that workers will be exposed to gas leaks, bad wiring, and unfinished pipe installations, all of which can contribute to fires and explosions at the job site. Even if your construction site is inherently dangerous, all employers have an obligation to keep the site as safe as possible. That’s why all sites should be inspected regularly, as a way to avoid these situations, as fires and explosions often cause serious injuries and even death.
6. Heavy Equipment Accidents
There is plenty of heavy construction equipment at most construction sites, but many workers at these sites tend to take safety for granted. Any heavy equipment poses a danger, depending on who is operating it and how safely they do so. Accidents involving forklifts seem to be the most common, but working around any heavy equipment poses a significant danger for everyone at the site, if it is not operated as safely as possible. Also, as noted, workers must lock out and tag out any heavy equipment while they are doing repairs or maintenance, or a tragedy could very well happen.
The Most Common Types of Injuries in the Texas Construction Industry
Now that we have taken a look at the most common causes of construction accidents, let’s look at the most common injuries sustained by workers. These are in order, starting with the most common:
- Broken Bones
- Burn Injuries
- Lacerations and Cuts
- Eye Injuries, including blindness
- Joint Injuries (Ankle, Shoulder, Knee)
- Toxic Chemical Exposure
- Head Injuries
- Hearing Loss
- Spinal Cord Injuries (Paralysis)
Most of these injuries have the potential to reduce your ability to continue to work and make a living. In most cases, these accidents are preventable, by following common sense safety measures, like following OSHA standards. Sometimes, however, construction companies cut corners and/or don’t see worker safety as the priority it should be.