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What Is a Construction Accident Lawyer? | Coplan & Crane

What Are the 4 Main Causes of Construction Accidents?

December 20, 2021

Construction is one of the most dangerous industries in which to work. Falls, electrocutions, being struck by objects, and being caught in or between objects are four of the leading causes of construction worker fatalities. These are known as the “Fatal Four” by OSHA and account for more than half of all construction worker deaths each year.

The Chicago construction accident attorneys at Coplan & Crane are uniquely equipped to handle even the most complex workplace injury cases. Due to the intricacies of construction accident claims, many attorneys and law firms avoid them. Coplan & Crane is not intimidated by difficult cases and we don’t back down from a fight. Our experienced team of attorneys and staff work tirelessly to achieve the results that our clients deserve.

The four main causes of construction accident injuries include the following:

Falling Accidents

Construction site workers are frequently required to perform their jobs hundreds of feet off the ground. When adequate precautions are not taken to ensure the safety of construction workers, everyone on the job site is at risk of suffering serious injuries.

Construction companies have a duty to provide harnesses, safe catwalks, secure scaffolding, and other safety equipment to prevent construction site fall accidents. When proper equipment is not available and falls occur, injured workers have the right to pursue damages from the construction company and other negligent parties.

Falls at construction sites can happen for a number of reasons, such as:

  • Unmarked excavation sites and trenches
  • Unguarded elevator shafts
  • Inclement weather when performing roof work
  • Debris causing slip or trip and fall injuries
  • Defective ladders
  • Unmarked or unprotected floor holes, wall openings, or ledges 
  • Improperly constructed or guarded scaffolding

The potential hazards that cause fall injuries are inevitable on construction sites. Construction companies have a duty to provide adequate safety equipment and educate their workers on fall prevention safety. Unfortunately, workers are often not given the training or equipment they need to perform their jobs safely and pay the price for someone else’s negligence.

Struck-By Accidents

In struck-by accidents, workers are hit by objects that may be falling, rolling, swinging, or flying. Depending on the nature and size of an object, as well as the speed it is traveling when it hits a worker, a struck-by accident can result in a minor bruise or a life-threatening, even fatal, accident. 

Common examples of struck-by accidents include:

  • Accidents with heavy equipment or vehicles 
  • Broken high-pressure hoses and lines
  • Falling suspended loads
  • Flying nuts and bolts
  • Falling scaffolding, pipes, or lumber 
  • Dropped tools

Construction companies must take reasonable precautions to prevent struck-by accidents from occurring. When companies fail to take adequate measures to ensure the safety of their employees, they may be held liable for injuries and subsequent losses that occur as a result.

Caught-In and Caught-Between Accidents

Caught in-between accidents are characterized by incidents that involve workers being caught, crushed, pinched, or squeezed between two objects or parts of two objects. These accidents also include situations in which a worker is buried, such as in a collapsing trench or building.

These types of accidents can occur when:

  • Workers are not sufficiently trained on how to safely use equipment and machinery
  • Machinery is not maintained or repaired
  • Scaffolds are not constructed or braced properly
  • Walls are not braced properly
  • Trenches and excavation sites are not properly supported
  • Heavy machinery is not secured or used improperly
  • Machinery is not locked down or is insufficiently guarded while not in use or during repairs

Caught-in and caught-between accidents are very dangerous for construction workers. These accidents can cause a number of debilitating workplace injuries, including torn ligaments, muscle strain, and broken bones. Depending on the severity of the injury, a caught-in or caught-between accident can cause traumatic brain injury, permanent limb damage, or even death.

Electrocution Accidents

Construction workers are often exposed to live wires or electricity while they are performing job duties on buildings or homes. Workers are required to handle actively electric devices on a wide range of jobs. 

Any construction site, whether commercial or residential, will bring construction workers into contact with multiple electricity hazards. Common electrical hazards that threaten workplace safety include:

  • Underground power lines struck with metal equipment or tools while digging
  • Poorly insulated overhead power lines
  • Unapproved or overloaded extension cord wires
  • Failure to have a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)
  • Wet conditions
  • Electrical circuits without proper breakers or fuses
  • Electrical wiring not in proper polarity (neutral to neutral, hot to hot)
  • Electrical equipment that is not properly grounded
  • Electric tools operated with plug or cord not properly grounded or insulated

The severity of injuries sustained on construction sites depends on the amount of electric current that contacts a construction worker’s body. The greater the electric current, the more dangerous and potentially lethal the risk to the worker. 

Contact a Chicago Construction Accident Attorney Today

If you were hurt on a construction site, the accomplished construction accident attorneys at Coplan & Crane want to hear your story. Our firm has extensive experience helping injured workers obtain workers’ compensation benefits. We also help clients pursue compensation when third parties are responsible for causing harm.

Call Coplan & Crane today at (708) 358-8080 for a free case evaluation. Our construction accident attorneys represent clients in Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and across Illinois.