Construction industry jobs are some of the riskiest in America. Every day, workers face fall hazards, construction equipment mishaps, and falling debris. The following jobs top the list of the most dangerous construction trades: roofers, construction helpers, iron and steel workers, equipment operators, and construction laborers.
Working in an inherently dangerous construction trade does not mean you should expect to get injured on the job. Construction companies have a duty of care to their workers. If negligence led to your accident, the at-fault party owes you fair compensation for your injuries and other losses.
Construction Accident Statistics
According to research from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 1,061 fatalities occurred in the construction industry during 2019. This is a 5% increase over 2018 and the most significant number of annual fatalities in the industry since 2007.
Data from a 2020 report issued by the BLS also indicate that construction industry workers reported another 200,100 non-fatal injuries and illnesses in 2019. This statistic is also an increase over the previous year’s number, further demonstrating the hazardous nature of these occupations.
About the Most Dangerous Construction Trades
While most construction jobs have a certain level of risk, some are more dangerous than others. These construction-related occupations have some of the highest rates of fatal and non-fatal injuries.
Roofers Are at Risk of Falls and Heat-Related Injuries
Roofers work outside, enduring direct sunlight and hot summer temperatures. They also work from significant heights and lift heavy and sometimes scalding objects. Because of these responsibilities, roofers have a substantially increased risk of job-related injury or death.
Statistics reveal that there were 54 fatalities for every 100,000 roofers in 2019, the highest rate among construction trades. Falling, slipping, and tripping was the leading cause of injury.
Construction Helpers Performing Physically Demanding Work
Like roofers, construction helpers are required to work under many hazardous conditions, including working at great heights and on ladders or scaffolding. They also typically perform physically demanding work in all types of weather.
In 2019, there were 40 fatalities for every 100,000 construction helpers. Out of the top-ranking most dangerous construction jobs, this was the second-highest fatality rate, with the most common injuries coming from falls, slips, and trips.
Structural Iron and Steel Workers Working at Significant Heights
Structural workers install the steel and iron beams and connect the girders that are the framework of many structures throughout the U.S. This is a perilous and physically demanding job typically performed at great heights atop bridges and skyscrapers.
At such heights, any fall could be deadly. According to 2019 statistics, there were 26.3 deaths per 100,000 structural iron and steel workers.
Equipment Operators Responsible for Heavy Machinery
Construction equipment operators control and drive the large vehicles and other machinery necessary to build roads and structures. It is a dangerous construction trade that involves many potential risks.
Transportation incidents are the leading cause of injuries for equipment operators. Statistics further state that, for every 100,000 full-time operating engineers and equipment operators, there were approximately 12.8 deaths in 2019.
Construction Laborers Operating Potentially Hazardous Power Tools
Construction laborers are the front-line workers on many worksites. They are responsible for much of the physical labor involved in construction, and they are often required to use potentially dangerous power tools.
The most common fatal accidents for construction laborers included falls, slips, or trips, and contact with construction equipment. In 2019, data indicates that there were 15 fatal injuries for every 100,000 construction laborers.
Common Construction Trade Injuries
As we stated, construction workers face dangers daily from heights, exposure to extreme weather, hazardous equipment and chemicals, and the job’s physical demands. The following are common injuries from construction accidents:
- Back injuries or spinal cord damage, including paralysis
- Burn injuries
- Chest injuries
- Crushing or caught in-between objects
- Cuts, contusions, and lacerations
- Fractures or broken bones
- Neck injuries
- Traumatic brain and other head injuries
This is not a comprehensive list of construction trade injuries you could suffer from an onsite accident. However, after any of these events, you should seek medical attention. A medical exam not only prevents further injury but your medical records can be used as evidence if you later decide to file a compensation claim.
Who Is Liable for Construction Site Injuries?
Construction trades are generally hazardous, and you must accept a certain amount of risk when you take on the job. Nevertheless, the negligent actions of others could make the job site needlessly dangerous, leading to unnecessary accidents and injuries.
Additionally, it’s not only the workers who are at risk of a construction site accident. Innocent pedestrians or drivers passing by or through construction zones could also become injured if the environment is unsafe.
If you sustained injuries or other losses from a dangerous construction site accident that was not your fault, you might be able to recover compensation. Liability, or the obligation to repay you for your losses, could lie with one or more of the following parties:
- The construction company: If the company owner knew of unsafe conditions that put their employees or the public at risk but did nothing to correct them.
- The land or building owner: If the site owner allowed code violations or other dangerous conditions on the property where construction was taking place.
- Contractors: If the general or prime contractors breached their duties to provide a safe environment or properly train their workers.
- Engineers or architects: If the site designers failed to meet OSHA safety standards or follow local regulations when drawing up the project.
- Equipment manufacturers: If the manufacturer fails to produce safe, defect-free equipment and parts for construction tools and machinery.
- Passersby: If a reckless passerby endangers workers, such as a distracted driver traveling through a traffic construction zone.
Recoverable Damages for a Construction Accident
At the Morelli Law Firm, we understand the challenges families face following a construction accident. In addition to medical expenses adding up, the victim’s family also experiences the devastating impact of a loss of income.
As a result, our goal is to help you recover damages through a workers’ compensation claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party. We can help you get compensation for your:
- Medical expenses, including doctor bills, surgical costs, and medication
- Nursing care, therapy, and other forms of rehabilitation for your injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress, including PTSD, depression, and anxiety
- Lost wages during recovery or due to subsequent disability
Hiring a Dangerous Construction Trade Accident Lawyer
Have you experienced an injury in performing a dangerous construction trade or while on a construction site? If so, we might be able to help you recover fair compensation for your damages.
State laws put a time limit on when you can file a personal injury claim; therefore, you may only have two or three years after your accident to act. Call the Morelli Law Firm today at (212) 751-9800 so that we can review your case and get started right away.