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Why the most dangerous jobs are almost all in construction

On Behalf of | Mar 17, 2024 | Construction Site Accidents

Construction is one of the best-paying blue-collar careers available. Workers with certain skills, such as welding training or experience installing tile, can obtain premium wages and competitive benefits packages.

Unfortunately, one of the trade-offs for the compensation is the risk of injury or death while working. Construction has long been among the most dangerous career paths in the United States. What makes work in the construction sector so risky for modern professionals?

Construction involves dangerous environments

Construction projects occur year-round, with work continuing even during times of bad weather in many cases. Project deadlines can be a key component of project contracts, and companies generally expect their employees to work even when there is active precipitation or heavy winds. Exposure to the elements can lead to illness or create scenarios where on-the-job injuries are more likely.

Oftentimes, construction workers perform their jobs at an elevation. Falling from ladders, off of scaffolding or from a serious elevation can lead to injury or death. In 2021, roughly 20% of all workplace fatalities involved someone in the construction profession. The construction sector was responsible for more than two-fifths of the reported fatal falls in 2021. Falling materials or construction equipment are also a potentially deadly safety concern when working at an elevation.

Construction requires dangerous machinery and tools

Construction work is also dangerous because of the labor-saving technology utilized by workers. Cranes eliminate the need to haul heavy loads, but they can malfunction and drop materials with little warning.

Tools can short out, leading to electrical shock. Those shocks could cause burns, dropped tools or even a fall. Power tools can also cause vibration-related injuries after years of regular use. Heavy equipment operated near a trench could cause the earth nearby to collapse into the trench. There are also vehicles present on many construction sites, leading to struck-by incidents.

Sometimes, chemical exposure is a concern. Even the electrical supply used to run equipment and tools can cause worker injuries. Construction incidents can put people in the hospital, render them unable to continue their careers or cause premature deaths.

Injured workers or grieving families may need to pursue workers’ compensation benefits after an incident in the construction industry. Realizing that the industry is inherently unsafe may inspire workers to learn more about the systems in place for their protection.