electricians on construction site in a dangerous positionIn December 2023, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released new data about workplace fatalities in the United States. In 2022, 5,486 people died in workplace accidents, which was a 5.6% increase over 2021 workplace deaths. Transportation and material moving occupations had the most work-related fatalities, followed by the construction industry.  The fatality rate in the construction industry rose from 12.3 per 100,000 workers in 2021 to 13.0 per 100,000 workers in 2022.  

As construction accident attorneys based in New York, we represent workers who have been injured on the job in New York and New Jersey and help them get the compensation they are entitled to when an accident and injury are caused by negligence or unsafe conditions. We take a look at dangerous jobs on construction sites and explain how we might be able to help after a worksite injury.

Jobs With High Fatality Rates on Construction Sites

It makes sense that the jobs that expose workers to the most dangers also see the highest rates of on-the-job fatalities. Below are some of the most dangerous jobs on construction sites that could lead to fatal accidents.

  • Roofers. Because they work at great heights, roofers are always at risk of a potentially fatal fall. 12 NYCRR Section 23-1.24 explains safety provisions that construction employers must follow to protect roofers.
  • Structural steel workers. Structural steel assembly is dangerous work, and 12 NYCRR Section 23-2.3 explains how construction workers should be protected from these potentially fatal dangers.
  • Delivery and truck drivers. Because there are so many commercial trucks on the road, vehicle accidents cause the highest number of fatalities each year. Drivers hauling material to or from a construction site can be involved in a fatal crash.
  • Demolition workers. Before construction work can occur, demolition must clear the site to make way for the new building. Demolition involves many dangers. 12 NYCRR 23.3 sets forth safety regulations to protect demolition workers.
  • Construction trade workers. This catch-all category includes carpenters and other skilled tradespeople who can be fatally injured in a fall, power tool accident, or by being hit by an object or vehicle. Many of New York's construction safety regulations found at 12 NYCRR 23 apply to trade workers.
  • Electrical powerline installers. Anyone dealing with live wires is at risk of electrical shock. Construction employers must comply with the safety regulations found in 12 NYCRR 1.13 to protect workers from electrical hazards.

Construction work is dangerous, which is why construction site owners and managers are required by law to ensure a safe workspace for all workers—even those involved in the riskiest trades.

Common Types of Fatal Injuries

Falls, collisions, power tool accidents, hazardous material exposure, and other dangerous incidents can cause a variety of injuries that can prove to be fatal. The leading causes of accidental death on construction sites include the following.

Head Injuries

Severe head injuries can result from falling objects, flying debris, or blunt force trauma to the head. These injuries may lead to brain damage, internal bleeding, or skull fractures, potentially resulting in fatality.

Electrical Shock

Electrical shock can lead to cardiac arrest, severe burns, and internal injuries. High-voltage electrical incidents pose a significant risk of electrocution on construction sites.

Burn Injuries

Construction sites often involve open flames, welding, and other hot work activities. Severe burn injuries can lead to death due to shock, infection, or extensive tissue damage.

Crushing Injuries

Workers may be trapped or crushed under heavy machinery, equipment, or building materials. These injuries can lead to internal injuries, fractures, and fatalities.

Penetrating Injuries

Penetrating injuries, such as those caused by sharp objects or tools, can result in severe damage to vital organs and blood loss, potentially leading to death.

Respiratory Injuries

Inhalation of hazardous fumes, dust, or toxic substances can cause severe respiratory distress or failure, leading to fatalities.

Internal Injuries

Blunt force trauma or crushing accidents can result in internal injuries to organs, blood vessels, and bones, often leading to severe hemorrhaging and death if not promptly treated.


The loss of limbs or body parts due to machinery or equipment accidents can lead to severe bleeding and shock, potentially resulting in death.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Injuries to the spinal cord can result from falls or heavy impacts, leading to paralysis or organ failure, which can be fatal in severe cases.

It's essential for construction employers to prioritize safety, require proper training, and provide personal protective equipment to reduce the risk of these types of injuries and prevent fatalities on construction sites. When serious or fatal injuries occur, it’s important for workers or their surviving family members to speak to a construction accident attorney to learn about their rights.

Timothy F. Schweitzer
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Personal injury lawyer specializing in maritime, construction and railroad injury claims.
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