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What Are the Common Causes of Construction Accidents?

June 13, 2023

Construction accidents are among the most common causes of work-related injuries in Illinois. While working in construction shouldn’t be dangerous—companies have a duty to keep their workers safe on the job—the reality is that construction workers face a variety of serious injury risks on a daily basis.

The construction accident lawyers at Coplan + Crane help injured workers throughout Illinois. If you were hurt on the job, contact our office today for a FREE case evaluation. We handle construction accident cases on a contingency basis, so you don’t pay anything unless we win for you.

Leading Causes of Construction Accidents According to OSHA

While construction workers can suffer injuries in all types of accidents, certain types of accidents are more common than others. For example, statistics from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) show that falls are among the leading causes of injuries on construction sites. 

Why is this the case? OSHA’s statistics also show that some of the most common causes of construction accidents include:

1. Inadequate Fall Protection 

Inadequate fall protection is a major concern on construction sites throughout Illinois. While OSHA has published numerous resources to help construction companies prevent falls on their job sites, it is clear that many companies simply ignore them. 

Failure to install temporary guardrails and kickboards, failure to provide construction workers with ropes and harnesses, and failure to install safety nets are just a few examples of inadequate fall protection on construction sites. As discussed below, failures related to ladders and scaffolding are common as well, and these are also among the leading causes of construction accidents in Illinois. 

2. Inadequate Fall Prevention Training 

In addition to providing adequate fall protection on their job sites, construction companies must also provide their workers with adequate fall prevention training. OSHA has published a Fall Prevention Training Guide, and it encourages construction companies to have “Toolbox Talks” with their workers to help them stay safe on the job. Unfortunately, many construction companies ignore OSHA’s guidance here as well—and, as a result, preventable falls remain far too common. 

3. Ladder Safety Failures 

Following proper ladder safety protocols is one of the easiest ways that construction companies can help keep their workers safe from falls. Ensuring that their ladders are in good shape and making sure spotters are available are two simple steps construction companies can take to significantly reduce the risk of ladder-related accidents and injuries. 

Yet, OSHA reports that ladder falls remain among the most common causes of construction accidents. This means that many construction companies aren’t taking even the simplest steps to ensure their workers’ safety. 

4. Scaffolding Safety Failures 

Scaffolding safety failures are also among the most common causes of construction accidents. There are dozens of reported scaffolding falls each year (and likely far more that go unreported); and, as OSHA notes, “All of these can be controlled by compliance with OSHA standards.” 

Additional Common Causes of Construction Site Accidents 

Besides falls, some of the other common types of accidents on construction sites include tool and equipment-related accidents, accidents involving trucks and other vehicles, and exposure to hazardous energy. Based on OSHA’s data, this is due to factors including:

  • Inadequate Respiratory Protection Failure to provide construction workers with safety masks and respirators increases their risk of suffering from inhalation-related injuries and diseases. 
  • Inadequate Eye and Face Protection Without proper safety glasses and face shields, construction workers can suffer injuries from flying debris, sawdust, welding arcs, and various other safety hazards. 
  • Inadequate Machine Guarding Adequate machine guarding is essential to prevent the risk of construction workers suffering broken bones, loss of digits, and other injuries caused by contact with spinning machinery. 
  • Inadequate Hazard Communication Communication is essential to preventing accidents on construction sites. If construction companies simply ensured that their workers had the information they needed to stay safe on the job, there would be far fewer construction accidents each year. 
  • Failure to Control Hazardous Energy Sources Like other types of construction accidents, most electrocutions on job sites are 100% preventable. But, failure to take adequate steps to control hazardous energy sources (including following appropriate lockout/tagout procedures) remains a very real risk for construction workers in all occupations. 
  • Negligent Truck and Forklift Operation The negligent operation of trucks and forklifts are common cause of construction accidents as well. This includes accidents involving collisions between vehicles as well as accidents involving trucks and forklifts hitting construction workers on the ground. 

Discuss Your Legal Rights with a Construction Accident Lawyer in Chicago

Were you injured in a construction accident in Illinois? If so, it is important that you speak with a lawyer about your legal rights as soon as possible. 

For a FREE, no-obligation consultation with a construction accident lawyer at Coplan + Crane, call (708) 358-8080 or request an appointment online today. We serve clients throughout Illinois, including Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and other areas.