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What are the top accident reasons in the construction industry?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 4,821 people lost their lives due to on-the-job accidents in 2014, and 17 percent of those fatal accidents involved contractors. Many of those contractors would have been on construction sites, and numerous noncontracted employees on construction sites were also included in that number. To help keep yourself safe when working in construction, it helps to understand the biggest risks.

According to OSHA, the top risks at construction sites can be divided into what is called the Fatal Four. The top reason for fatalities for workers on construction sites are falls. In fact, almost 40 percent of construction workers who died related to workplace accidents in 2014 were involved in a fall of some type. You can help reduce the risk of falls by paying attention to your environment, removing debris from walkways and using proper harnessing equipment when working at a height.

The second largest reason for construction worker deaths in on-the-job accidents was electrocution, which accounted for about 8 percent of fatalities. Electrocution was followed closely by accidents that involved a worker being struck by an object and those that involved a worker being caught in or between machinery or items on the site. The first accounted for 8 percent of fatal accidents and the latter accounted for 4 percent.

As with falls, electrocution and these other accident types can often be prevented by following safety procedures and being aware of your environment. Awareness can't stop all accidents from occurring, though, which is why workers' compensation and other legal remedies exist. If you were hurt in a construction accident -- or lost someone to such an incident -- consider talking with a lawyer about what options you have for financial recovery.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Commonly Used Statistics," accessed Sep. 30, 2016

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