Hard Hat Zone: Five Most Common Construction Site Injuries
The pace of construction activity picks up in the spring months and so does the risk of a construction accident. With workers using power tools and performing tasks around heavy equipment, construction sites remain among the most dangerous places to work. Construction workers face many risks working around heavy equipment.
According to the North Carolina Department of Labor, seven construction workers sustained fatal on the job injuries in North Carolina in 2013. Hundreds more workers suffered serious injuries. Construction and farming tied for the highest number of workplace deaths in the state. Nationwide, one out of every five workers killed on the job is a construction worker.
While roadway and transportation incidents top the list of fatal occupational injuries, construction workers sustain many serious injuries from falls, slips, being struck by objects or heavy equipment, electrocution, exposure to harmful chemicals, fires, explosions, and more.
Understanding Your Rights as an Injured Worker
If you are a construction worker, who has been injured at a job site, you could be eligible to receive benefits through your employer’s worker’s compensation insurance. Sometimes, however, supervisors put pressure on workers not to report injuries or employers try deny that a workplace accident caused an injury. If you have run into problems receiving the benefits you deserve, talk to a North Carolina workers compensation lawyer about your claim.
Construction workers are most likely to sustain a head injury following a fall from a dangerous height or after being struck by a falling object or by a piece of heavy equipment. In fact, OSHA reports that 294 out of the 796 fatal construction injuries nationwide in 2013 were due to falls. Another 82 construction deaths resulted from a worker being struck by an object. These types of accidents can involve head lacerations, concussions, and traumatic brain injuries.
Depending on the extent of injury, a worker may be left with permanent impairments and need ongoing medical care. Hard hats are required at all times at construction sites. Although protective headgear cannot prevent injury in every accident, it is important to protect your head on a construction site.
Broken bones are common injuries sustained by construction workers in certain types of accidents such as falls, being caught in or between pieces of equipment, or by being struck by a heavy object. When equipment is not properly secured or operators are inexperienced, a worker may be hit, knocked off a ladder, or crushed. Fractures, breaks, and crushed bones occur more frequently when safety procedures are lacking or are not strictly enforced.
Burns and Scars
Burns are common injuries on construction sites. Burn injuries including second and third degree burns can occur as a result of fires, explosions, exposure to chemical substances, exposed wiring, and more. Electrical, chemical, and fire related burns can cause extensive damage and may require multiple surgeries to address severe scarring. All workers should be provided with protective breathing equipment when in the presence of toxic substances.
Spinal Cord Injuries
In addition to head injuries, construction workers are also at risk of sustaining spinal cord injuries on a construction site or job, due to a fall off a ladder, scaffolding, or significant height. If a worker falls on his or her back, on a piece of equipment, or from a height, it can result in temporary or permanent damage to the spinal cord. Partial or full paralysis is common when the spinal cord has been severely bruised or partially torn. Using proper equipment and following OSHA safety standards is known to minimize the risk of spinal cord injuries.
Construction sites are packed with materials, heavy equipment, and machinery. If a construction worker gets part of his or her body caught in a piece of equipment, between two objects or under any other worksite material, the injury or damage sustained could necessitate amputation of a limb. In some instances, a worker could lose a finger, toe, or have an arm or leg completely severed.
Minimizing the risk of amputation injuries begins with exercising caution in the workplace. Obtaining adequate training, wearing protective equipment and gear, using the proper tools, and following strict safety guidelines are all ways for workers to avoid injury.
Seek Legal Representation if You Have Been Injured on the Job
If you have been injured while working at a construction site in North Carolina or while completing a work related task, a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney can assist you in obtaining the financial and medical benefits you deserve.
Hardison & Cochran offers a free initial consultation where you can discuss your case with one of our skilled attorneys and receive an explanation of your legal options. Contact a Raleigh personal injury attorney at our firm today to find out more.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Labor: National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2013 and Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses – 2013
- Occupational Safety & Health Administration: Commonly Used Statistics