Construction Accidents in Pennsylvania – The Fatal Four

In the 2015 calendar year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported that there was an average of 13 job-related deaths per day, and 1 in 5 of those fatalities involved construction accidents.

Construction sites are dangerous places, and accidents happen far more often than we like to think. It is important to be aware of the risks that you and/or loved ones may face while on the job at a construction site.

Construction Accident Statistics for Pennsylvania

contruction site accidents

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction accidents led to 35 deaths in Pennsylvania in 2015, which is down from 40 deaths in 2014.

Across all industries, there were 173 fatal work injuries in Pennsylvania in 2015, down slightly from 179 the previous year. This accounts for about 3.6% of the nationwide fatalities. About 41% of these fatal accidents involved transportation, followed by falls (including slips and trips) at 21% and contact with objects or equipment at 15%.

Constructions Accidents – The “Fatal Four”

fall protection preventing construction accidents

OSHA statistics show that four types of accidents were responsible for over half of the construction worker deaths in the United States in 2015:

  • Falls accounted for 38.8% (roofs, ladders, cranes, scaffolding)
  • Being struck by an object accounted for 9.6% (falling objects, equipment, machines)
  • Electrocutions accounted for 8.6% (defective equipment, mishandled equipment)
  • Getting caught in or between something accounted for 7.2% (including being backed over, run over, crushed, or pinned)

These “Fatal Four” construction accidents – falls, being struck by an object, electrocution, and getting caught between equipment – amount for the vast majority of construction worker deaths nationwide. Eliminating the Fatal Four, according to OSHA, would have saved the lives of 602 workers last year.

construction accidents in pennsylvania

While there are rules and regulations in place to minimize these types of accidents, they can’t protect workers if they are not followed. Most of the Fatal Four deaths were due to falls, and fall protection was OSHA’s highest cited standard in 2016. Fall protection, scaffolds, and ladders on the list of OSHA’s top ten cited standards. Also appearing on the top ten list are electrical wiring and general electrical requirements, which ties in with the 8% of fatalities due to electrocution.

Construction Accidents Involving Trench/Building Collapses

building collapses

In February a young man was killed in western Pennsylvania when a 9-foot-deep sewer line trench collapsed. Trenches can collapse and trap workers, seriously injuring them or even causing death.

Buildings under construction or being demolished can also collapse without warning and cause serious or fatal injuries to the workers caught beneath the falling debris. This is another common construction site accident that all too often proves fatal for those involved.

Deadly Construction Site Fires

Exposed wiring, flammable chemicals, defective equipment, and leaking pipes are not uncommon on construction sites. Fires from these hazards can start quickly and spread rapidly, trapping workers and resulting in major injuries and even death. Although fires do not rank as one of the top causes of construction worker deaths in the United States, these accidents are extremely devastating.

Worker’s Compensation Lawyers in Delaware County, PA

construction accidents

Worker’s compensation is a system funded by employers to cover compensation if an employee is injured on the job or suffers from an occupational illness. To many people, worker’s comp seems like an endless maze of paperwork, red tape, and problems.

There is legal help for workers injured on the job and for the families of those who lost loved ones in construction accidents. Donaghue & Labrum has decades of experience in personal injury law, including injuries related to construction accidents. You may be entitled to medical benefits, wage loss benefits, worker’s compensation death benefits, scarring and disfigurement benefits, or a worker’s compensation settlement. Let our expert personal injury lawyers get you the help you need and the settlement you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.