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Accidents in Construction

Accidents in Construction

It is common knowledge that accidents happen. We really can’t altogether avoid them, which is what makes them accidents. Construction is one industry in which accidents occur fairly often. Whether it is because of the type of work, the type of equipment, or the type of training which workers are exposed to, the construction industry faces more accidents than almost any other industry.

Recently in the News:

Recently, there have been several accidents involving the construction industry, all of which are worth noting.

The first occurred at the Danville Goodyear plant. This deadly accident is being investigated by OSHA, and is the second deadly accident to have occurred here within seven months. This accident involved 54 year-old Kevin Edmonds, who died during his work shift, after working for the company for 26 years. Although it was not released how the accident occurred, it was being investigated. This Goodyear plant was issued three violations totaling more than $16,000 for the accident.

The important thing to note is that this is not the only construction incident that has occurred over a short period of time. It does not make much difference how the accident happened, it is only important to know that construction accidents happen way more often than we might think.

A second incident happened in Philadelphia, leaving two construction workers dead and 35 others injured. This event did not necessarily happen on a construction site, but still involved heavy equipment and construction workers. An Amtrak train collided with a backhoe on the tracks, leaving many injured and the backhoe operators dead. According to witnesses, the train driver blew the whistle seconds before the crash, but the construction equipment could not be moved in time, killing the operators. It was unclear why the backhoe was on the tracks.

Amazon Construction Accident

What Happened

Officials are still conducting an investigation, but we do know that Mister Shoemake passed of blunt force trauma while working onsite. (Original Story) There are a number of ways someone can sustain blunt-force trauma on a worksite. These can include being struck by a motorized vehicle, falling, or being struck by a falling object.


While it can’t prevent every potential hazard from harming you, wearing the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can certainly prevent many worksite accidents from happening.

Standard PPE for most construction sites includes safety vests, helmets, eye-protection (helmet attachment or goggles), approved gloves, or boots. Remember that safety vests are important to maintain visibility while others are operating machinery around you.

Additionally, employees working at or above 6 feet from the ground must wear fall protection gear, according to regulations. While in some instances partial fall protection is allowed, it is really much safer to wear full fall protection gear when working at heights, especially where there is potential to trip, slip, and especially, fall.

Struck-By Hazards

Injuries involving being struck by or hit by objects and vehicles are common on construction sites and can be fatal.  These types of injuries occur from tools falling from equipment while performing maintenance, items falling onto an employee, or being hit by equipment or machinery.
To avoid struck-by injuries, follow these guidelines:
  • Wear your hard hat to avoid falling objects
  • Stack materials properly to keep them from sliding, falling, or collapsing onto workers
  • Secure tools and materials so they won’t fall on people below
  • Don’t work under cranes, hoists, or heavy machinery while they are operating
  • Perform a thorough pre-shift inspection of any hoist wire rope, lifting hooks, and chains
  • Inspect tools and make sure proper guards are in place
  • Never clean clothing with compressed air.

This construction accident reminds us that every day brings the risk of accidents. Stay alert and up-to-date with the proper PPE and safety hazards specific to your worksite.

Our hearts go out to the Shoemake family and friends from Campbell County who were affected by this tragic loss.

For more information on worksite safety training, including Fall Protection, visit our website

Other Accidents Worth Noting

  1. Construction worker killed in highway accident identified
  2. Woman falls to death from under-construction bldg
  3. Woman flat-seeker falls to death at construction site in Pune
  4. NYC officials set to propose controversial new construction safety requirements

Why Accidents and OSHA Citations?

In spite of all the proactive measures OSHA and other state-OSHA entities continually take, and in spite of all the new regulations and clarifications on old regulations, accidents continue to
happen. In fact, in the face of some states, like New York, already adopting the OSHA-proposed NCCCO certification for crane operators in the construction industry, crane accidents continue to happen. Take New York city, for example: just this week they had yet another construction-related crane fatality just last week, and in April it was reported that they were on track this year to have it become their most fatal year for construction-related accidents.

Now yes, construction is on the rise again and there are more workers now than before so, according to the law of averages, there would naturally be more accidents. There’s just one problem: while the percentages are staying about the same (in some cases they are dropping slightly, in other areas they are rising), that is not something we really want to celebrate, is it? We want and hoped to see these percentages drop drastically.

So what’s going on? Why do we continue to see a rise in accidents and fatalities when there are m
ore safety rules than ever before? On this, we have a couple thoughts based on what we observe day-in and day-out in the workplace and what we hear from construction companies.

  1. There are so many regulations, it can be very hard for companies to know what applies to them let alone make sense of the technical jargon used in OSHA and ANSI standards. This, however, is no excuse. If you are operating cranes or forklifts or aerial lifts or earth movers, you need to take the time to know the regulations.
  2. There is a lot of confusion regarding regulations. This is a legitimate concern. Are man-baskets okay for forklifts? Do I have to wear fall protection on an aerial lift? Do I have to wear a hard hat? These are some of the main Google searches that bring people to our site. So yes, clearly, there is a lot of confusion. In fact, in some cases, like cranes specifically, there is so much confusion out there about the proposed NCCCO certification and what that means for training, that it is causing more problems for companies. On that note, the bottom line for crane certification is this, that law has not been adopted yet (Federally, speaking). But for those states that have adopted it, and for all others for when it does get adopted some time in 2017, it only requires crane operators to take/pass an additional exam or two. Training is still required. The OSH Act of 1970 still applies to employers. Even more specifically, it very clearly states that employers “shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.” If you are confused about a law, contact your state OSHA and get some clarification. Or ask us. We’re happy to help clear things up or point you in the right direction.
  3. Too many companies are still ignoring the need for proper training. They cut corners in order to save money and time. This is no excuse. OSHA states very clearly that if you are operating heavy equipment, you need training. And you need to do pre-shift inspections, and you need to have pre-job safety meetings and do a JSA/JHA beforehand.

The list goes on and on, but the lives and safety of workers and pedestrians need to be factored into the overall cost. The ROI (return on investment) for money spent on training is nothing compared to the money a company will spend if an accident occurs or if they are found in violation of OSHA Requirements.

Here are few from the past few days. We hope you will take from their tragic experience what you need and apply it to your workplace. Think safe, stay safe.

OSHA fines Texas Library $88K for Excavation Hazards

Housing Authority fined $47K for No Cave-in Protection

Worker Killed in Wall Collapse Warned of Construction Site Problems

Man Sues City for Negligence, Construction Accident


It is clear that operators and all construction workers need to be trained. Although accidents may happen in any industry, the more trained a person is for a specific area of work, the less likely accidents will be to occur.

Be sure that you and your operators are well trained in whatever area you may be working in, in order to potentially save your life and the lives of others.

Training Kits,

Online (e-learning) Courses, and

Onsite Training are available through our website for various areas of work.