6 Most Common Construction Injuries
It is no surprise that the construction industry experiences more injuries and fatalities than any other type of employment. Construction workers are exposed on a daily basis to a variety of hazardous conditions from working with heavy machinery, dangerous tools, in varying weather, on scaffolding and in trenches. Many work from heights with little protection from falls while others are exposed to live electrical wires, toxic chemicals and falling objects. Explosions, fires and injuries from faulty materials or the lack of safety measures are constant concerns. Adding to the risk are untrained workers and undocumented aliens, many of whom speak little English and are taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers who only seek to finish their jobs quickly while paying minimal wages.
Workers have to reminded daily of the hazards existing on their particular work sites, to be vigilant of other workers and to have safety in mind in any task they are performing. Regardless, serious injuries do occur. The following is a list of the 6 most common construction injuries:
- Head trauma. Although hard hats are required on work sites, serious head injuries are not uncommon. Workers are liable to be struck by falling objects such as tools and building materials, some of which can weigh hundreds of pounds. Materials are constantly being moved on construction sites and the risk of being struck in the head are high. These include concussions and traumatic brain injuries that can lead to permanent cognitive disabilities.
- Burns, scarring and disfigurement. On numerous construction sites, there is the ever present danger of explosions, fires and burns from exposed live electrical wires or uninsulated wiring. Spills from toxic chemicals can severely disfigure a worker. Workers digging a trench can accidentally strike old or exposed electrical wiring or leaking gas pipes leading to an explosion and fire.
- Spinal cord injuries. One of the most frightening injuries is to the spinal cord, which can lead to partial or permanent paralysis. A fall from any height off a ladder, scaffold, crane or roof can easily injure the neck or back. If a worker is not cautious, he or she can be run over or struck by a truck or other vehicle on site. Also, constant heavy lifting over years can lead to progressive back and spinal cord injuries. A back injury, even if paralysis does not occur, can still disable a worker for weeks or months and in many cases permanently disable a worker from engaging in even moderate lifting or be forced to find or be trained for another vocation.
- Loss of limbs or digits. If you work with heavy machinery, saws or other dangerous tools, you risk the loss of a finger, toe or an arm or leg if you are not adequately trained or are distracted while using it. Being struck by a heavy piece of equipment can easily sever a digit, hand or foot. Often, a worker has a limb or digit severed from being caught in between machinery or debris.
- Heat stroke and overexertion. The physical demands of construction work and working outside under conditions of high heat and humidity can take its toll even on the hardiest workers. Many have to work with heavy work gear or protective clothing and risk dehydration and dizziness that can lead to falls or other injuries. Dehydration can lead to severe damage to your kidneys, heart and brain or result in death. Working long hours and with heavy materials can also cause damage to your muscles and joints.
- Broken and crushed limbs. Any construction worker risks a broken or crushed arm, leg, hand, finger or toe when working with tools and around heavy and dangerous machinery. Defective tools, cranes, heavy objects and falls can lead to broken limbs, especially if the worker is fatigued, impaired or distracted.
Consult a Construction Injury Attorney
Workers’ compensation usually covers most injured workers injured in the course and scope of their employment, though employers and insurers often dispute the cause of an injury or its extent. If this occurs to you, consult with a worker’s compensation or construction injury lawyer who can examine the facts of your injury and deal with suspicious or reluctant employers and insurers who usually seek to minimize their exposure or pay out the least amount in benefits to you. Also, your construction injury attorney can see if other parties may have contributed to your injury so that you can obtain additional compensation for your injuries.