It is no secret that the construction industry is the most dangerous of all occupations in the US. Working with drills, saws and other heavy machinery and having to work from scaffolds and heights and encountering electrical wires, fumes and chemicals are just some of the high risk conditions construction workers are exposed to on a daily basis.
Safety is the highest priority, or should be, in the construction trades. Safety meetings addressing general and specific hazards and ensuring adherence to applicable safety codes should be held daily so that workers are constantly made aware of what to expect and how to keep themselves safe. In many cases, an experienced construction accident lawyer can demonstrate that a party failed to comply with safety codes or standards leading to third party claims and additional compensation for the injured worker.
To give you an idea about the construction industry and its hazardous nature, here are 8 scary construction accident statistics to consider:
- About 1 of every 10 construction workers will suffer a work-related injury. If you work in an office, think about 10% of those with whom you work sustaining an injury there. It is doubtful you would think your workplace was particularly safe.
- Falls are the major cause of fatal injuries. This happens more often in the building trades where various subcontractors work from scaffolds, roofs or other heights.
- The most violated of OSHA standards is protection form falls. The lack of safety rails, failure of workers to wear fall protection gear, defective materials and shoddy maintenance and failing to warn of hazards contribute to falls as a major factor in construction work fatalities and injuries.
- 60% of construction injuries occur to workers in their first year of employment. This would perhaps indicate that experience is the greatest safeguard against injuries. For this reason, more attention and supervision might be directed towards new hires or those who have no or little experience.
- Nearly 20% of all workplace fatalities were in the construction trades. This confirms the highly hazardous nature of this type of work.
- Texas leads the nation in construction-related fatalities. A worker in the Lone Star State is 12 times more likely to suffer a fatal accident. Construction sites here are some 22 percent more deadly than the national norm. Much of this comes from the state’s hostile attitude towards regulations and unions. The specialty trades suffer the most, which includes electricians and roofers. Since most workers are independent contractors, they have to provide their own safety gear and likely are not required to attend safety meetings.
- Structural iron and steelworkers are more at risk of suffering a fatal injury than in any other construction trade. Most fatalities are the result of falls. Workers are often required to be at great heights and while safety harnesses are mandatory, not all workers wear them or use them properly. Cuts from metal shears and burns from welding and death from fires due to inflammable chemicals or working near combustible materials are other factors leading to death for these workers.
- Injuries from exposure comprise nearly 16% of construction injuries. Exposure to toxic chemicals, fumes and to lead are the main culprits. Exposure in the workplace also includes cuts from sharp objects or tools. There are standards regarding the level of exposure to which a worker may be exposed to over a specified period that are often violated.
As anyone can see, being a construction worker is no picnic. If you have been injured in a construction accident, or have a condition that you feel was caused by or exacerbated by your job, consult with a construction accident lawyer about your rights to workers’ compensation and possibly third party claims.
Damages in a Construction Accident
Workers who sustain injuries while in the course and scope of their employment are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in most cases. You may need the services of a knowledgeable Boston construction accident lawyer to prove your injury was work-related and that you are entitled to certain benefits. These include:
- Medical expenses
- Temporary total benefits
- Partial disability payments
- Total disability payments
- Payments for disfigurement and/or loss of a function of a body part
- Total and permanent disability
- Death benefits
In some cases, you may be have a third party claim against someone other than your employer whose negligence or willful conduct was a substantial cause of your injuries. This would include defective design or manufacture of tools, guardrails or safety equipment or a failure to warn by the manufacturer. In a third party action, you can claim pain and suffering as an element of your damages, which is not available in workers’ compensation claims. In wrongful death claims, damages can also include burial and funeral expenses and loss of the decedent’s love, support, guidance and consortium.
For any work-related injury or fatality, use the legal services of Boston construction accident lawyer Paul Tetzel, an advocate for workers and for their rights to compensation and benefits in work-related accidents. Contact him today for a free, in-depth assessment of your work-related injury.