As far as physical injuries go, it’s no secret that construction is one of the most dangerous industries. In fact, according to CNBC, out of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in America, construction-related jobs make up almost one-third of the entire list. Let’s explore what’s causing these accidents, what it is about construction that is so dangerous, and what should a person do when they’ve been injured.
Construction Accidents: What Causes Them?
Most people automatically assume that construction is dangerous and chalk the countless deaths and injuries that occur each year up to ‘the nature of the job.’ In reality, although some deaths are not preventable, many of them are. Construction companies often skimp on safety obligations. This can be a failure to provide safety equipment, training, or other safety measures needed to prevent unnecessary accidents. What are the leading causes of injuries and fatal construction site accidents?
- Falls. OSHA (the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has identified falls as one of the “Fatal Four” construction site accidents that lead to death. Due to a lack of fall protection, the dangerous heights of ladders, and faulty scaffolding, falls are impossible to predict and hard to prevent.
- Workers caught between objects. Being caught in or between equipment or objects is second on the list of OSHA’s Fatal Four. This includes being pinned by a vehicle and hit by materials that fall from a vehicle.
- Workers struck by objects. This is the third item of OSHA’s Fatal Four. These objects can include tools, materials, or debris. Not wearing hardhats or failing to install proper tool guards that meet OSHA’s standards contribute to this cause.
- Electrocution. The fourth of the Fatal Four includes episodes that stem from faulty wiring, poor design, and inadequate electrical procedures.
- Highway construction collisions. Vehicle collisions near highway worksites account for many deaths and even more injuries.
- Poor communication of hazards. Lack of required hazard communication is one of the most cited construction site safety violations.
- Lack of respiratory protection. Failing to provide masks for jobs that kick up potentially deadly dust is another common safety violation.
- Powered industrial trucks. Industrial trucks and forklifts are a massive driving force behind construction deaths and injuries. Different vehicles present different risks, but accidents are usually related to inadequate experience or unsecured items.
Stop Underreporting: What to Do if You’ve Been Injured on the Job
A study from the International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics states that, after polling construction workers, 27 percent admitted that they had failed to report a work-related injury. Some reasons for underreporting include:
- Workers say, “it’s just part of the job”
- Social pressures to not appear weak
- Fear of retaliation
- Fear of missing work (and pay)
If you’ve been injured on the job, don’t let these factors get in the way of getting the help and compensation you need and deserve. If you’ve been injured on the job, follow these simple steps:
- Report the injury
- Tell your healthcare provider the injury is work-related
- Give your employer a written notice
- Record missed work, related travel, and expenses.
- Find a personal injury lawyer
Why Is Construction So Dangerous?
Now that you know what causes construction injuries, why they’re underreported, and how to report them, let’s find out why construction is so dangerous. Here is a list of the top six reasons:
Working at height is the culprit behind falling-related accidents. Workers need to be aware of their surroundings. They could be up on a roof, ladder, or scaffolding, and any of these can be faulty, causing a worker to be injured through no fault of their own.
Construction workers have to demolish and work with old buildings and materials all the time. In addition to breathing in deadly asbestos, workers are also at risk of inhaling:
- Silica dust: Scars the inside of your lungs
- Wood dust: Causes asthma and nose cancer
- Gypsum dust: Causes asthma and persistent ENT problems
Proper respiratory protection can help prevent these problems.
Construction workers do a lot more manual labor than most other industries. Construction also requires the use of dangerous equipment and huge machinery. These conditions combine to create an atmosphere where workers get caught between objects and/or machinery all too often.
Working with tools that vibrate can cause real problems. Hand-arm Vibration Syndrome (HAV)happens when workers regularly use vibrating machinery for extended periods. The symptoms are change in color, numbness, and tingling in your fingers and hands. These effects can be permanent.
Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)
Any condition that affects movement is an MSD, including joint, muscle, and tissue issues in your arms, legs, and back. MSDs are common in lifelong construction workers who have repeatedly been carrying or manually handling objects.
Industrial or occupational deafness means you’ve lost hearing because you work with loud noise. You may lose your hearing, as well as develop tinnitus or acoustic shock syndrome. This can be temporary or permanent. Failing to use proper ear protection is a contributing factor to this problem.
Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
If you’ve been injured on the job, whether the accident was preventable or not, you’ve got to report it and hire a construction site accident lawyer, especially if you’re afraid of retaliation or missing work. Although construction is a dangerous job, no matter what, it’s essential to stick up for yourself and your coworkers and report injuries as soon as they happen. By doing so, you hold your employer accountable for the safety rules and regulations they are supposed to follow.
When you look for a personal injury attorney, shop around and get a second opinion from family or friends. At Mottaz & Sisk, we offer free consultations, so you can get to know us and understand how we can work together. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and get the help you need.