What Are the Causes of Accidents on Construction Site?

What Are the Causes of Accidents on Construction Site?

Researchers around the U.S. have studied why construction accidents happen. Construction workers have the third-highest rate of job-related deaths in the U.S. — trailing only loggers and commercial fishermen. About 1,000 American construction workers die every year. This translates to about three construction workers every day.

Construction workers also have a high rate of injury. About 82,000 construction workers suffer non-fatal injuries every year in the U.S. About one in every 113 construction workers suffers severe enough injuries to report to their employer.

Here are some of the most common causes of accidents on construction sites.

Causes of Construction Site Accidents

You can look at this question in two different ways. You can answer this question by looking at the root causes of accidents on construction sites. Or you can answer this question with a list of the mechanisms that cause construction site accidents.

Mechanisms of Construction Site Accidents

Construction sites are dangerous. Heavy equipment and materials, moving vehicles, and elevated workspaces can lead to accidents. The most common mechanisms of construction site accidents include:


Falls cause 36% of construction accidents. This makes falls the leading cause of construction deaths. Falls include falls from a height and slip & falls.

Elevated falls are the leading cause of construction fatalities. About 400 construction workers die every year in falls from a height of at least one floor.

Slip and falls are a leading cause of construction injuries. These falls typically injure workers rather than kill them since they happen on the same level. But slip and falls can cause serious injuries, including back, neck, and head trauma.

Transportation Accidents

Car accidents, truck accidents, and construction vehicle accidents are the second most common cause of construction injuries and fatalities. This does not include workers killed while commuting to work. Instead, this includes accidents where the workers were moving materials or equipment to, from, or within a construction site.

About 26% of construction accidents involve transportation.

Struck-By Accidents

Getting struck by objects or vehicles makes up the third most common cause of construction accidents. Struck-by accidents include accidents where something falls onto a construction worker. They also include accidents where a truck, forklift, or other vehicle runs over a worker.

Struck-by accidents account for about 16% of all construction deaths.

Caught In/Between Accidents

Caught in/between accidents capture all of the accidents that include a crushing injury. A worker could get pinned between a vehicle and a structure, trapped under collapsed construction material, or caught in a tool or construction machine.

These accidents cause about 6% of construction deaths every year.


This broad category covers exposure to all kinds of dangerous conditions, including:

  • Electrocution
  • Heat-induced illnesses
  • Hypothermia
  • Toxic chemicals
  • Dust and respiratory irritants

About 14% of construction accidents resulted from exposure.

Responsibility for Construction Site Accidents

These statistics move away from the mechanism of the accident and get at the root cause of the accident.

The leading cause of construction site accidents is unsafe working conditions. Unsafe working conditions can lead to falls, exposure, or any other type of accident. 

According to OSHA, the most common safety lapses in the U.S. construction industry include:

  • Fall protection, including railings and safety harnesses
  • Hazard communication, such as warning signs
  • Respiratory protection
  • Scaffolding
  • Ladders
  • Control of electrical hazards, namely electrical lockouts to prevent electrocution
  • Powered industrial trucks
  • Fall protection training
  • Eye and face protection
  • Machinery and machine guards

When construction companies fail to meet the OSHA standards, construction workers pay the price. Smaller employers who sometimes let safety violations slide account for 75% of falls but only employ 39% of construction workers.

Contact a construction accident lawyer if you’ve been a victim of a construction site accident. Your lawyer can help you obtain workers’ compensation and/or explore other avenues for compensation.

Contact Our Construction Accident Law Firm in Philadelphia Today To Get Help With Your Case

To learn more and get the help you deserve, call Zavodnick & Lasky Personal Injury Lawyers at (215) 875-7030 or contact us online.
You can also visit our law firm at 123 S Broad St #1220, Philadelphia, PA 19109.