Construction sites are amongst some of the dangerous places to work in. Despite precautions to keep the workers and the construction site safe, dangers linger because of the great heights, working below ground, powerful machinery, and hazards from working near roadsides.
According to estimates, there are approximately 137,000 serious injuries to construction workers annually, and 800 people lose their lives from their injuries.
Types of compensation
Most construction workers injured on the job are eligible for worker’s compensation across all the US states, something employers are required by law to provide. Worker’s compensation covers medical expenses, lost wages, and any disabilities, whether partial or permanent. In addition, if the injury occurred within the course and scope of a person’s employment, they don’t have to prove negligence or fault to receive the benefits.
However, in addition to the worker’s compensation, a construction worker can seek a personal injury claim for injuries against another entity or person on the construction site. This is because any number of people on or outside the construction site, and their employers, may play a role in on-the-job injuries. This could include suppliers, engineers, and architects.
Common Construction Site Injuries
Several injuries are common to construction workers, including burns, broken bones, electrocution, eye injuries, head and brain injuries, spinal injuries, and illnesses caused by exposure to chemicals. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), these are the five most common construction site injuries
1. Falls from heights
Falls are widespread and happen in various ways. Whether the worker falls from a roof, scaffolding, or machinery, a severe injury will likely result. In addition, many construction projects are multi-story buildings, increasing the chance of a simple stumble leading to a severe injury.
The proper safety equipment does help to decrease the number of falls, especially for workers who work on elevated structures or in the air.
2. Tripping and slipping
Constructions sites are places fraught with tripping and slipping hazards. This is because tools and materials often lie all around the site, making it easy to trip over them. In addition, adverse conditions like rain, snow, and ice can easily cause slipping accidents.
3. Transportation accidents and falling materials
According to OSHA, 39% of the occupational fatalities in 2018 happened because of a transportation incident. These included being struck by a truck, tractor, trailer, or crane. There are several safety regulations in place to ensure workers’ chances of being hit are reduced. These include wearing clothing like reflective vests to make workers more visible.
Often, construction materials also cause workplace accidents when they fall. Materials like metal, wood, and pipes are heavy and can cause severe injuries if someone isn’t wearing protective gear. Personal protective gear essential for construction workers include gloves, hard hats, safety glasses, and steel or composite-toed boots.
4. Electric shock, arc flash, fires, and explosions
At any construction site, workers use generators, powerful machinery, welders, and electrical wiring. All these tasks put them at a higher risk of suffering an electric shock or from an arc flash.
Also, they are working with flammable material and compresses air, both of which present the danger of fire or explosions. All materials and equipment come with warnings. These safety standards must be adhered to if accidents are to be prevented.
5. Trench collapses
Trenches are essential on most construction sites, especially with new buildings or underground piping needs changing. However, a collapsing trench poses a danger to workers on sites. Therefore, any trench deeper than 5 feet must have a protective system in place before any workers enter it.
Dealing with construction site injury claims
Addressing medical expenses and the lack of income are the two most pressing concerns for injured construction workers. This is because they are sometimes not fully covered by their worker’s compensation and any other insurance they might have.
In a construction accident involving negligence, the injured party should seek legal advice about a personal injury claim.