4 Most Common Construction Injuries and How to Prevent Them

On-the-job injuries occur in almost every industry, but construction injuries are especially common and can often be serious. Because construction usually requires performing hard labor, handling heavy materials and working in harsh environments, these jobs sites carry a greater risk of injury than those in many other industries.

OSHA has identified four types of injuries that are most common on construction sites. Read on to learn what they are and steps you can take to prevent them.

1. Falls

Falls on construction sites are typically categorized as falls from heights or falls on the same level, such as slips and trips. Most falls from great heights are caused by poorly structured scaffolding, improper ladder use and unprotected gaps in stairwells and shafts. Slips and trips are often a result of misplaced items that impede foot traffic and spills or leaks that cause slippery surfaces.

There are several things you can do to help prevent falls on the job:

  • Follow all safety regulations for roofs, scaffolding and ladders, and train employees on these regulations
  • Use all appropriate fall equipment such as guardrails, personal fall arrest systems and safety nets
  • Keep work areas clean, clear of clutter and well lit
  • Ensure employees wear shoes with adequate traction

2. Struck by Object

OSHA defines "struck by an object" as an impact between a person and an object or piece of equipment. Examples include being hit by a vehicle and forcible contact that occurs when an object falls on a person.

Struck-by injuries can be avoided by clearly marking or blocking off vulnerable areas, and wearing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), such as hardhats and safety glasses, can help minimize their effect. Other precautionary measures that can be taken include:

  • Stacking materials properly to avoid falling and sliding objects.
  • Avoiding lifted or suspended loads.
  • Ensuring employees know not to position themselves between fixed and moving objects.
  • Securing materials and tools properly so they will not fall.
  • Not driving in reverse gear if your view is obstructed.

3. Electrocution

The most common injuries from electrocution are burns on the skin, but it can also cause more serious injuries like cardiac arrest and nerve damage. Electrocution usually happens when environments are unsafe due to poor wiring installation, equipment damage or improper work practices.

OSHA regulations focus on covering requirements and the design and use of electrical equipment. They recommend using electrical protective devices and proper insulation to prevent electrocution.

Other ways to prevent electrocution include:

  • Use of all required PPE.
  • De-energizing equipment and using proper lockout and tag-out procedures.
  • Keeping a safe distance from parts that are energized.

4. Caught In/Between

Caught in/between accidents occur when a worker is caught between two or more objects. These accidents can happen if a vehicle traps a person against a wall, a body part is pulled into machinery or materials collapse on someone.

Staying focused on your surroundings is one of the best ways to prevent this from happening. To stay safe, avoid:

  • Placing yourself between heavy equipment and an immovable object.
  • Putting your hands or other body parts near moving objects.
  • Wearing long sleeves, jewelry or other items that can get caught on moving objects.
  • Working in excavation areas where water is accumulating.
  • Being in the swing radius of a rotating object.

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