Construction sites are the most dangerous workplaces in the nation. A Bureau of Labor statistics study for the U.S Department of Labor shows that there are between 5 and 6 thousand deaths as the result of construction accidents each year. Construction companies are committed to provide safety training to their employees, but despite these efforts, accidents still occur frequently. A typical construction site is a maze of hazards that can be anywhere. Picture a video game where Hardhat Harry must get from the site entrance to his station on the top of the building while avoiding ditches, dodging moving equipment and falling materials, then climbing up shaky scaffolding while watching out for exposed electrical wires the entire time. That fictional, animated, scenario would not be far from reality.
Construction sites abound with potential hazards and construction activities are inherently dangerous. Below are some of the more common causes of construction site injuries:
· Falls – Falls from scaffolding, ladders, structures and other elevated positions are the most common cause of serious workplace injuries.
· Construction equipment accidents – Loaders, lifts, rollers, trucks, cranes and other construction equipment are constantly operating on most construction sites. Preoccupied workers may be unaware of how close they are to operating equipment. Operators of construction equipment may fail to see a worker within their path or operation area.
· Trench accidents – Trenches are necessary for underground pipes, wires or other below grade equipment. Instability may lead to a collapse onto workers if the ground is not properly prepared or has been compromised by weather. A more common accident is the worker falling into a trench after losing footing or being unaware of its presence.
· Falling material – Despite the rules requiring all construction site personnel to wear hardhats, falling objects such as debris, tools or construction material still cause frequent injuries. The materials may have been blown from a structure by high wind, dropped by a worker, or dropped by a crane, forklift or loader. There is no question that hardhats reduce traumatic head injuries but they do not prevent them completely. A heavy object falling at high velocity can still cause a serious injury to anyone it strikes.
· Electrocution – It is the trained electrical worker that is the most likely to be the victim of electrocution, rather than an innocent worker meeting a live wire. Electrical workers can become complacent working with high voltage. This comfortability can lead to that single fatal error.
· Welding accidents – Welding is a dangerous job that requires proper training. Even a master welder can be injured. Welding is performed by extremely high temperatures joining two pieces of metal together. This incendiary temperature can cause potentially fatal burns. One study showed that one out of 250 construction workers will die due to a welding accident. Welder may also suffer long term injuries to their eyes from UV exposure from the arc. “Arc eye” is irreversible damage that makes the eye feel like there is always sand in it. Infra-red exposure from the arc can lead to deep tissue burns on the skin. Retinal damage can also occur from the intense visible light from a welding arc. A full-face shield and heavy gloves should always be worn to prevent injury.
Compensation for Construction Site Injuries
All employers including construction companies, and other trade providers, are required to carry worker’s compensation insurance. This insurance is in place to pay for the medical bills of an injured employee. Worker’s compensation also protects the employer against a lawsuit filed by the injured worker for lost pay, pain and suffering. In some cases, a construction accident may be the fault of a third party, such as a different contractor or subcontractor, the property owner, a delivery company or some other separate entity. The blame my lie wholly or partially on this third party. In these cases, compensation may be sought for past and future medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering. These lawsuits can become extremely complex. For example, an employer can file a lien against the injured employee to recover any loss due to the worker’s compensation claim, if the injured employee is successful in the third-party claim. If the injured party is not well represented, the money from the third-party claim could be split between the attorney fees and the lien, leaving the injured plaintiff with nothing from the third-party settlement. That is why it is important for the victim of a construction accident to retain a highly-qualified workplace accident attorney.
Vititoe Law Group is a personal injury law group that has successfully fought for the rights of countless victims of construction site accidents, winning substantial awards. If you or someone you love was injured, or a loved one was lost due to a construction site accident, reach out Vititoe Law Group today and speak to a qualified construction accident lawyer. The lawyer will know the true value of your case and will fight vehemently to recover the maximum award. There is no cost to you until you win.