Construction is happening right this minute. Roads are being built, residential and commercial buildings are going up, and repairs to existing structures are underway. In all these and other scenarios, the potential for construction accidents is present.
What do you know about these types of accidents?
Here's information that will help you understand what can happen at a construction site, and what to do if you do sustain some sort of injury while on one of those sites.
Many kinds of injuries can take place while a site is under construction. Fortunately, responsible construction company owners take reasonable safety measures to minimize the potential for accidents. Even so, accidents can and do happen. Here are some examples of the most common injuries in construction throughout the United States:
- Falling from any distance
- Severe shocks due to electricity
- Injuries involving machinery or equipment
- Direct hits to various areas of the body
- Sprains and broken bones
- Injuries to the back and spine
- Skin burns
- Health issues due to exposure to chemicals
- Damage to the eyes
Examples of Injuries On The Job
The frequency of some kinds of construction injuries does vary, with some being more closely associated with specific types of construction sites. Even so, the range of work related injuries is broader than most people realize. Here are more details about the most common injuries in construction today:
Many forms of construction involve the use of scaffolding, climbing on roofs, using ladders, or spending time on girders.
According to statistics available from The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), falls at construction sites accounted for one out of three injuries at those sites during 2019. The actual percentage was 36.4%. This makes falls the most common of all construction site injuries.
Slick areas are not uncommon at construction sites. Outdoor sites may be more slippery after rain or other precipitation. Oil and other kinds of spills can also increase the odds for someone slipping. This often results in a fall that could cause significant injuries.
Malfunctions and Mishaps Involving Machinery
There's plenty of machinery and other equipment to be found at a construction site. There are often cranes, jackhammers, bulldozers, forklifts, and other heavy equipment in use. That doesn't even factor in smaller equipment like nail guns, drills, and hammers. All of these could be the origin of a number of injuries.
Debris or Building Materials Falling
From roadwork to constructing a skyscraper, there are plenty of building materials on hand. For the most part, materials are housed in secure areas until they're needed. Even so, there's the potential for those materials to fall from overhead and injure those underneath. The same is true for any debris that may be created during the course of construction.
Accidents Involving Electrical Current
Electricity is sure to be present at most construction sites. It may be in the form of batteries, or it could have to do with the wiring that's being run. In some cases, electrical cables are present to power some forms of equipment. From electrical systems that are being installed to power lines that are down, the potential for shocks and possible electrocution is present.
Chemical Burns and/or Explosions
There is no lack of explosives and chemicals at most types of construction sites. They may be used for blasting or for treating something at the site. In any event, exposure to chemicals does increase the potential for sustaining burns.
Dealing with explosives also carries some risk. From being the one who sets the explosive to workers who happen to be too close when it goes off, the potential for sustaining injuries is significant.
Another potential cause of injuries at a construction site has to do with gas leaks. Direct contact could also trigger burns or other skin conditions. Inhaling the gas could lead to the development of internal physical damage, and may be the underlying cause of a number of mental and emotional conditions.
Trapped Between Building Materials
Building materials don't have to fall from overhead in order to cause injuries. It's possible for materials that are being moved from one spot to another could lead to physical damage. This is the case when those materials end up pinning someone between one or more kinds of building materials. The extent of the injury could be anywhere from breaking some ribs or other bones to cutting off the ability to breathe for a period of time.
Ground or Trench Collapses
Construction often involves excavation. That creates trenches and the potential for some kind of collapse. This is also true when it comes to ground that may be unstable due to the construction. If there is a collapse, anyone who happens to be standing on that spot could end up with broken bones, be temporarily buried under the collapsed soil, or worse.
Vehicles are needed to haul in materials, take away soil that's been excavated, and even to transport materials to different parts of the building site. When those vehicles are driven too quickly, or when drivers become distracted, the potential for someone being injured increases. The same is true if a vehicle overturns, and someone happens to be standing nearby.
For road construction, there's the possibility of injury by vehicles not directly related to the construction job. That danger comes from drivers who don't pay attention and get too close to the workers who are at the site.
According to the NIOSH, there are several ways that eye injuries to construction workers can occur. In fact, around 10,600 construction workers are affected by eye injuries sustained on the job each year. The number one cause of eye injuries for construction workers is direct hits or scrapes to the eyes.
A number of materials and objects may be involved. Nails, metal shards, wood splinters, and welding mishaps may all be involved.
Extreme Bodily Exertion/Muscle Damage
Construction is a physically demanding line of work that takes place in many types of weather. That includes weather conditions involving high temperatures and significant humidity. At times, the level of exertion may be enough to cause strained or torn muscles. There's also the potential for prolonged exertion to lead to dehydration, fainting that results in a fall, and even an increased potential for strokes.
Even the most careful worker may be injured through no fault of his or her own. Being aware of the dangers and taking precautions helps, but never assume that it can't happen to you.
What About Visitors and Others Who Sustain Injuries at Construction Sites?
Most information about construction accidents focuses on workers. That's because the majority of accidents in construction sites do involve construction crews. However, delivery personnel or others who are granted access to the site may also sustain some sort of injury.
While the circumstances are different, there is still liability for the accident. This means if you are at construction site with the permission of the property owner or the construction foreman, it's important to secure legal representation as soon after receiving treatment as possible. There's a good chance that you will be due some sort of compensation that covers all or at least a part of the cost of the medical care.
What to Do If You're Injured at a Construction Site
Whether you're employed at a construction site or are there with proper permission, being injured will mean the need for medical treatment. The question is who is going to be responsible for covering those costs. It also means determining who is going to be accountable for the income that you lose while recovering from the event.
If you are an employee of the construction firm, you may be covered by workers' compensation. However, don't assume that's a given. You need a lawyer who can look over the specifics and represent you at any hearings involving that compensation. It's in your best interests to not sign anything without obtaining legal counsel first.
For those who are not employees, there is still legal recourse. A lawyer can examine what has taken place, and take the lead in negotiating a settlement with the responsible party.
There's no reason why you should assume that the compensation necessary to cover medical costs and other expenses will be provided without question. Instead, hiring Linden Law to represent you is the most practical solution.
Our lawyers will take a close look at every factor related to the injury, provide advice about what sort of legal action can be taken, and do everything within the limits of the law to ensure you receive the type of compensation that you deserve.
1. What are the four leading causes of death in the construction industry?
OSHA has identified four kinds of construction injuries that are the most common. Known as the Fatal Four, they are: falls, electrocution, direct strikes, and caught between objects.
2. What is the number one cause of eye injuries for construction workers?
Current construction injuries statistics continue to affirm that the leading cause of eye injuries for construction workers is direct hits or scrapes to the eyes.
3. Where do on the job accidents most often occur?
With falls as the most common type of construction accident, workers are more likely to be injured when they are at an elevated height. This may be on a roof, positioned on a girder, or operating equipment that has them off the ground.
4. How quickly should you pursue legal action after an injury?
The priority at the time of the injury is to seek medical attention. Once that is underway, you or a loved one can make contact with a lawyer. This helps to ensure you have representation before the party responsible for the accident has a chance to make contact.
5. Why do I need a lawyer?
There's a lot to be said for having a lawyer ready to help you navigate the process of securing a settlement, or taking the matter to court. Lawyers can provide advice on what to do while the case is pending. You also can defer all queries about the accident to your legal counsel, allowing you to focus more attention on recovering from the event.
Contact the team at Linden Law today and set up an appointment. Doing so will be the first step in ensuring that you don't have to face financial worries as the result of your injury.