When Do Most Construction Accidents Happen?

Construction is one of the most dangerous occupations. More than workers of other industries, construction workers experience fatal and non-fatal injuries from accidents that require them to take time off.

The fatality data reported on Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Form 170 includes the date and time of day when most fatal construction accidents occur. An analysis of the fatal events in the construction industry was prepared for the Office of Statistical Analysis at OSHA.

According to the 2006 analysis, the distribution of fatal events by day of the week revealed that Wednesday is the most dangerous work day of the week for the construction industry with 168 events. Tuesday (144) and Thursday (135) were the days with the next largest number of fatal events. This is counter to the popularly held belief that most fatalities occur on Mondays and Fridays. Friday was actually the weekday that had the fewest number of fatal events with 124. It should be noted that the total number of construction hours worked each day was not taken into account so it is not possible to conclude with certainty that any day of the week is more or less dangerous than another.

In 2006, the distribution of fatal construction events by days of the week was as follows

Day Number of Events Percent

  • Monday 134 17.2
  • Tuesday 144 18.5
  • Wednesday 168 21.5
  • Thursday 135 17.3
  • Friday 124 15.9
  • Saturday 46 5.9
  • Sunday 22 2.8
  • Missing 7 0.9

There is no definitive reason why more accidents occur mid-week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) compared to Monday and Friday. One hypothesis is that it is due to the planning of more intensive jobs, like concrete pouring for large projects, during that time.

The distribution of fatal events by hour (military) of the day was also captured by OSHA. The time between 1 p.m. and 2.p.m. appeared to be the most dangerous hour of the day for construction workers with 91 events. The time between 11 a.m. and 12 noon hosted the second-highest number of fatal accidents with 86. Again, the most dangerous hour in construction cannot be pinpointed with certainly without knowing the time worked each hour. According to the analysis prepared for the Office of Statistical Analysis, a reasonable assumption is that “the total construction hours worked each hour during the 8-12 hour period and the 13-17 hour period are approximately equal.”

Distribution of Fatal Construction events by hour 2006

Hour Number of events Percent

0-1 5 0.6

1-2 2 0.3

2-3 6 0.8

3-4 2 0.3

4-5 5 0.6

5-6 1 0.1

6-7 9 1.2

7-8 21 2.7

8-9 73 9.4

9-10 72 9.2

10-11 81 10.4

11-12 86 11.0

12-13 47 6.0

13-14 91 11.7

14-15 79 10.1

15-16 77 9.9

16-17 49 6.3

17-18 31 4.0

18-19 15 1.9

19-20 3 0.4

20-21 6 0.8

21-22 2 0.3

22-23 4 0.5

23-24 6 0.8

Missing 7 0.9

Total 780 100.0

There is no exact reason that can be pointed to for the reason more accidents occur around lunchtime. It may be because workers want to complete a task before they break, and work quickly rather than safely. However, this is just a hypothesis. Another possible reason for more fatal accidents around lunchtime may be that workers are hungry. Hunger can cause fatigue, weakness, and dizziness. A high number of accidents at the end of the day may signal that workers are tired or trying to improve their performance for the day.

Monitoring national trends in construction safety and health can help prevent the occurrences of the future serious workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths.

For over 40 years, David H. Perecman has distinguished himself as one of the leading personal injury lawyers in New York City, championing all types of personal injury cases including construction accidents, premises accidents, automobile accidents, and medical malpractice, along with employment discrimination, false arrest, and civil rights cases.