New York City has a big safety issue, and the local government knows about it. In a recent report,  the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) admitted that its enforcement of construction sites “needed to be improved.”

But the harm continued. From September 1, 2022, to September 30, 2023, the DOB reported 732 construction-related incidents resulting in 11 deaths and 774 injuries.

Construction sites are risky environments, but careless oversight by employers and local governments is unacceptable. Below, we explore the key factors that make a construction site dangerous. Call our skilled New York construction accident lawyers for assistance if you were hurt while working construction.

construction site dangers

1. Heights

One of the most significant risks in construction is working at heights, including working on scaffolds, ladders, roofs, or any elevated work area. Falls from heights are a leading cause of fatalities and serious injuries in the construction industry. Inadequate fall protection, improper use of scaffolding, and lack of safety training contribute to the risk.

2. Moving objects

Construction sites are bustling environments where workers, machinery, and vehicles constantly move. The presence of cranes, forklifts, and supply vehicles, combined with the movement of heavy materials, creates a risk of being struck by or caught between objects. This includes the danger of flying, falling, swinging, or rolling objects.

3. Slips, trips, and falls

The terrain of a construction site is often uneven, cluttered with debris, or slippery, leading to a high incidence of slips, trips, and falls. These incidents can result in a wide range of injuries, from minor bruises to severe fractures or even fatal injuries.

4. Noise

Excessive noise is a common hazard on construction sites due to machinery and tools. Continuous exposure to high noise levels can lead to hearing loss and other health issues. It can also impede communication, increasing the risk of accidents.

5. Wiring and electricity

The risk of electrocution is significant on construction sites, where temporary electrical systems are common, and the environment may be exposed to the elements. Contact with power lines, the use of electrical equipment in wet conditions, and improper use or installation of electrical devices are primary concerns.

6. Dangerous materials and chemical hazards

Construction workers frequently handle hazardous materials, including asbestos, lead, solvents, and other toxic chemicals. Exposure to these substances can cause a range of health issues, from skin irritations to serious respiratory conditions or chemical burns.

7. Machinery and equipment

The use of heavy machinery and power tools is integral to construction work. However, these tools and machines can be sources of injuries if they malfunction, are used improperly, or lack proper safeguards. Cuts, amputations, and crushing injuries are potential dangers.

8. Trenches and excavations

Trenches and excavation sites pose significant risks, including cave-ins, falls, and hazardous atmospheres. Inadequate protective systems, such as trench boxes or shoring, and poor monitoring of environmental conditions within the excavation exacerbate these dangers.

9. Fire and explosions

Though less common, the risk of fire and explosions is present, particularly when working with flammable materials or in environments where gas lines or other explosive materials are found. Fire safety measures are critical in mitigating these risks.

10. Stress and fatigue

Physical demands, long hours, and the pressure to meet deadlines can lead to worker fatigue, which increases the risk of accidents. Stress and fatigue impair judgment and reaction time, making other hazards even more dangerous.

We’re helping make construction safer for everyone

Recognizing and understanding these construction site dangers is the first step toward mitigating risks and ensuring the safety and well-being of all workers on site. Safety training, proper equipment, and adherence to safety protocols are essential in minimizing the hazards inherent in construction work.

If you were hurt on a construction site, contact us online or at (212) 741-3800 to schedule your free consultation.