Construction Injuries: Causes And Consequences (2024)

Sarah Edwards


Reviewed By Adam Ramirez, J.D.


Read in 4 mins

Construction sites are some of the most dangerous workplaces in the entire country. Construction workers suffer more fatal injuries than workers in any other industry. Workers also experienced over 169,000 non-fatal construction injuries in 2022.

Construction accidents can happen in many ways. Hazards on construction sites include open pits, elevated workspaces, and dangerous equipment. Regardless of how the injury occurs, construction workers usually have at least one source of injury compensation. In some cases, they have several options, including a third-party lawsuit.

Most Common Construction Injuries and Their Causes

Construction workers perform many tasks that expose them to injury risks, but several are most common.


Falls are a top cause of injuries on job sites. They can cause the following injuries:

  • Broken bones
  • Strained neck or back
  • Herniated disc
  • Brain injuries, such as concussions
  • Spinal cord injuries

Falls include both elevated falls and same-elevation falls. Elevated falls happen when a worker falls from one level to another level. For example, these accidents occur when people fall from a roof, through a floor, or off a ladder.

Same-elevation falls happen when someone loses their footing and falls. Slip and fall accidents result from a loss of traction. Liquid, sand, or grease can cause a worker’s foot to slide, causing them to fall backward onto their buttocks and back.

Trip and fall accidents result from something that interferes with a worker’s gait. Raised thresholds, unmarked drops, and objects left on a walkway can cause someone to trip and fall forward onto their hands, chest, and face.

Struck By Objects

Objects that strike workers can cause both blunt force and penetrating injuries. “Struck by” injuries can happen in several ways, including:

  • Construction vehicles running into workers
  • Falling objects striking workers
  • Flying materials or blades thrown by tools

These accidents can produce bruises, fractures, and other impact injuries. Sharp objects can lacerate or even amputate body parts.

Trapped Under or Between Objects

“Trapped by” accidents can occur when a worker gets caught by one or more moving objects. Some examples of these accidents include:

  • A vehicle pinning a worker to a stationary object or another vehicle
  • A tunnel or trench collapsing on a worker
  • A building or scaffolding falling onto a worker

When a worker gets trapped by or between objects, they can suffer crushing injuries, such as shattered bones. They can also suffocate if the objects trapping them prevent their lungs from expanding. Suffocation can cause brain damage or death.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Car accidents can affect construction workers while they transport building materials or travel between sites. When motor vehicle accidents happen on the job, the law considers them construction accidents even though they do not occur on job sites.

Keep in mind that different rules apply when workers travel on their own time or for their own purposes, like commuting, getting lunch, or running personal errands. When crashes happen outside the scope of your job, personal injury rules apply rather than work injury rules.

Electrical Shocks

Electric current can cause a non-fatal electric shock or even fatal electrocution. Electric hazards a construction worker might encounter include:

  • Loose wiring
  • Overhead wires
  • Electrified puddles
  • Malfunctioning power tools and generators

Electrical shock can produce burns. The current can also damage the heart, brain, and nerves.

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Injury Compensation for a Construction Workplace Injury

Most construction workers are covered by workers’ compensation. This insurance system was created to ensure workers injured at work had access to medical care. The employer pays the insurance premiums, and the insurer pays for the worker’s medical treatment.

The insurance company also pays disability benefits if the worker misses a minimum amount of time at work. The benefits usually equal a fixed percentage of the worker’s average wage.

In exchange for providing workers’ comp insurance, employers receive legal immunity from personal injury lawsuits by employees. However, injured workers can still pursue injury claims against third parties. The employee asserts these claims against any party, other than the employer or a co-worker, who contributed to the cause of their injury.

Some examples of third-party claims include claims against:

  • Motorists who injured the worker in a car accident
  • Manufacturers who produced defective tools or equipment
  • Property owners with hazardous conditions on their property
  • Other construction businesses or contractors that created a hazard on site

Generally, the injured worker must prove negligence to win these claims. Negligence means the third party had a duty to exercise reasonable care and failed to do so. For example, a property owner might fail to restrain their aggressive dog. When roofers arrive at the property, a worker might suffer a dog bite injury.

Learn More About Construction Injuries From ConsumerShield

Construction worker injuries can range from repetitive stress injuries and exposure illnesses to catastrophic accidents. In many cases, you have several options for pursuing injury compensation. Importantly, these sources of compensation cover different types of losses, allowing you to pursue many options simultaneously.

ConsumerShield helps injured workers understand their rights after an on-the-job accident. We provide educational resources and connect you with an experienced lawyer who can advise and represent you. Fill out our contact form for a free case evaluation to learn how we can help you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • According to OSHA, this is true. However, bear in mind that this statistic encompasses all types of injuries, including those that are non-fatal or require only first aid. Nevertheless, this statement highlights the risks construction workers face in the normal course and scope of their jobs.

  • Fatal four” describes the four most common causes of fatal construction injuries. They include:

    • Falls
    • Trapped in or between
    • Hit by an object
    • Electrocution

    These four causes account for nearly two-thirds of all fatal construction accidents. OSHA provides training materials to construction workers and their employers to avoid them.

  • Yes, in some situations. Most states do not allow you to sue your employer. This immunity is their “reward” for providing workers’ comp insurance. You can sue third parties that contributed to your injuries like negligent drivers who cause car accidents or manufacturers that sell defective products.

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