Construction Accident Statistics in California

September 21, 2022 Posted In Work-related injury

The construction industry is known for being inherently dangerous and posing a high risk of injury for workers. In California, construction is known as the second leading cause of worker fatalities, according to data between 2013 to 2019. 

If you have been injured in a construction accident, contact our San Bernardino construction accident lawyers any time.

Facts about Construction Accidents in California

California’s Department of Industrial Relations issued a report in 2021 containing data on general trends in occupational-related fatalities between 2013 to 2019. Construction was responsible for 17% of occupational fatalities, or 464 worker deaths, an average of six fatalities per 100,000 workers.

  • Of the 71 fatalities that took place in 2018, 29 were due to slip or trip and fall accidents.
  • In 2019, construction fatalities rose to 84 from 71 in 2018.
  • 35 construction workers were killed in 2019 from falls, slips, or trips.
  • Half of the occupational fatal falls were Hispanic workers.
  • In 2019, 17 construction workers died in transportation accidents.
  • 13 construction workers were killed in accidents involving contact with objects or equipment, as were 12 drivers or material moving workers in 2019.
  • Of the construction and extraction industry fatalities, 11 were caused by exposure to hazardous environments.
  • The majority of construction injury victims in California are men.

Construction Injury Statistics in the U.S.

Across the U.S., more than 1,000 construction workers were killed on the job in 2019 alone. The “Fatal Four” are the leading causes of construction-related deaths, accounting for over 60 percent.

  • Falls: 33.5% of total deaths in construction in 2019. (OSHA)
  • Struck by Object: 11.1% of total deaths in construction in 2019. 
  • Electrocutions: 8.5% of total deaths in construction in 2019. 
  • Caught-in/between: 5.5% of total deaths in construction in 2019. 

Construction workers have a 1 in 200 chance of suffering a fatal injury over a 45-year career, and nearly half of all workers killed in construction accidents are self-employed or work for a company with ten or fewer employees. 

Why Construction Accidents are Common

The primary contributing factors in construction accidents are: 

  • Negligence (on behalf of a worker, employer, co-worker, third party);
  • Unsafe work conditions;
  • Improper use of tools or equipment; and, 
  • Lack of protective gear. 

When adequate safety training or safety gear (e.g., hard hats, eye protection, etc.) are not provided, hazards are not warned of, equipment and tools are not inspected regularly, and there is a failure to communicate possible dangers to employees, there is an increased risk of a fatal accident occurring. However, even when every safety precaution is taken, accidents still happen, but companies must provide regular health and safety training to their workers.

Construction Accident Liability

California workers or their surviving families are generally unable to sue employers for a construction-related injury or death. This is because employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which provides benefits for work-related injuries or illnesses regardless of fault. However, there are some exceptions. If, for example, an employer’s actions intentionally caused harm or they do not have enough workers’ compensation insurance to cover injuries or death benefits, you can sue. 

Most construction accident claims are filed against third parties in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. Third-party or wrongful death claims can be pursued against a party other than an employer who contributed to the accident. For instance, a property owner, contractor, product manufacturer, maintenance company, engineer, or architect. In these cases, an injured worker or surviving family can recover further compensation for losses that workers’ comp benefits do not cover.

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