Construction Injuries

According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), the “Fatal Four” in construction are the types of injuries that cause the most deaths. These are falls, struck by objects, electrocutions, and caught in/betweens — and as serious as those types of accidents are, they are not the only common ways you can be injured on a construction site.

Dangers of Construction

If you have a job in construction, then you know that you are in a line of work that is inherently dangerous, even if you are not the individual down in a 10-foot trench or the electrician responsible for powering the work site. There are a host of ways that you can be seriously injured on the job, starting with the most common source of death on a construction job: falls.

Falls

construction fall injuries

Job site workers commonly fall from scaffolding, ladders, buildings, or even from pieces of machinery. It is also possible to fall into holes, ditches, or trenches.These falls can be caused by quite a few different things, too: the scaffolding you were working on might have collapsed, a ladder could have been improperly set up, ice on the surface of a machine could cause you to slip, or safety measures may not have been in place to help you notice a trench. Regardless of the cause, falls account for almost 40% of construction site deaths and physical harm (e.g., fractures, spinal injury, whiplash, brain damage).

Struck By Object

Another common type of injury involves being struck by an object, usually something that is falling from above. The item in question could be a tool, building materials, debris, or something that was knocked loose by equipment. If you are not wearing a hard hat, the situation can quickly prove deadly. But even when you are wearing appropriate safety equipment to protect your head and eyes, you can still sustain serious neck and spinal injuries.

Electrocutions

construction electrocution injuries

Electrocution is frightening and can prove fatal in any setting, but especially in construction where it is the fourth leading cause of death. And you do not have to be an electrical worker to be electrocuted — carpenters, supervisors, roofers, and general laborers can be injured or killed by electrical accidents as well. The most common sources of dangerous electricity are electrical wiring and equipment as well as overhead power lines. In addition, electrical burns are rather common; although they are not the same as electrocution, they are very serious and can lead to permanent damage of soft tissue.

Caught In/Between

Another horrifying and often deadly form that construction injuries can take is being caught in equipment or crushed between two objects. For example, you might be caught in the tracks on an excavator, pinned between a forklift and a stack of building materials, or have a bulldozer back into you. Bruises, broken bones, and internal injuries often result.

Respiratory Issues

Most construction sites involve a significant amount of dust, and that dust can lead to respiratory issues. The most serious respiratory problems in construction are caused by asbestos and silica, but other types of airborne particles on the construction site can still be problematic. Silica dust has become such a problem that OSHA has special safety regulations to protect construction workers from injurious exposure.

Trench Collapse

Trench collapse is another common means of construction site injury which can happen when a trench is dug but not properly supported on the sides. If the sides collapse while workers are in the trench, they can suffer serious injuries from the weight of soil including fractures, crushing injuries, lack of oxygen, and even brain damage. And trenches are not the only things that can collapse; when buildings and other structures fall, these accidents can result in even more serious injuries.

Other Types of Construction Injuries

dangerous construction sites

Of course, the situations discussed do not cover all the possible sources of injury. Construction workers can also experience repetitive motion injuries that can damage soft tissue. Depending on where the construction site is located, there are also dangers related to extreme heat (heat exhaustion, heat stroke, heat stress) and extreme cold (hypothermia, frostbite). Heat stroke and heat exhaustion can damage your kidneys, brain, and heart while cold-related injuries can lead to loss of toes, fingers, and parts of the face. Fine dust, flammable chemicals, exposed wiring, and sparks can all combine to create an explosion that leads to burns, shrapnel, scaffolding collapse, and more. In addition, some construction jobs involve exposure to poisonous materials such as lead or asbestos.

Conclusion

Construction sites can be extremely dangerous places to work. Even when proper safety protocols are followed and the entire crew is wearing the appropriate PPE, there is always the potential for an unforeseen accident. Fortunately, there are laws in place to protect workers and provide them with compensation if they are injured on the job, even when the job is inherently dangerous.

Contact Donaghue & Labrum

If you have been injured while working at a construction site, contact Donaghue & Labrum. Our firm has over 30 years of legal experience and we represent our clients vigorously in workers’ compensation cases including occupational illnesses, orthopedic injuries, and wrongful death. Contact our law office today — we can even meet with you at the hospital or in your home and have evening and weekend appointments available. Our attorneys will help secure compensation for your construction accident related injuries.