When you see signs on the roadway cautioning you to slow down in construction zones, it is not just for your own safety; it is for the safety of roadside construction workers who face myriad life-threatening dangers every day. Construction workers regularly expose themselves to falls from great heights, getting caught between pieces of machinery, electrocution, and other hazards. Next time you see an Occupational Safety and Health Administration initiative calling for the increased protection of California’s construction workers, take it seriously.
Hazards Construction Workers Face
Construction is one of the most dangerous professions, coming in second only to the transportation and warehousing industry. Falls are the leading cause of death in construction. Construction workers often work from great heights, such as the tops of buildings, tall scaffoldings, and ladders. Other potential hazards are numerous and can include:
- Collapsing trenches
- Strikes by falling objects
- Electrocution or electric shock
- Fires and explosions
- Back injuries from heavy lifting
- Respiratory disease from inhaling debris
- Hearing loss from long-term exposure to loud machinery
- Skin diseases from sun exposure and handling dangerous materials
- Repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome
Handling large pieces of equipment and operating heavy machinery can lead to a variety of accidents, such as workers getting caught in or between equipment or large trucks backing over employees. Some construction tools pose hazards, such as amputation or crushing injuries. Many accidents are preventable with the proper safety precautions, but sometimes disaster strikes regardless of proper safety initiatives.
Common Construction-Related Injuries
Sustaining an on-the-job injury is not typically as disastrous or life threatening as the injuries construction workers suffer. The hazards listed above can lead to a wide range of damages, both fatal and non-fatal. The most common construction injuries include broken bones or fractures from falls. Falls can also lead to head or traumatic brain injuries in addition to spinal cord injuries and paralysis. Workers can sustain traumatic brain injuries from objects falling at construction sites as well.
Common injuries also include muscle and joint damage due to overwork, heat stroke that can lead to heart, kidney, and brain damage, and cuts from exposed nails and tools. More permanent damages include eye injuries and loss of vision from being impaled by shrapnel or being exposed to dangerous chemicals, loss of hearing from loud construction site sounds, and post-traumatic stress disorder from experiencing traumatic workplace accidents.
What to Do If You Have Been Injured at a Construction Site
If you have suffered any form of injury while working at a construction site, you can file a construction injury claim. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides certain standards every construction site and property manager or contractor must follow. If someone failed in these safety standards and contributed to your accident, you can sue for compensation. First, seek medical attention for your injuries. Many construction site injuries require immediate care, without which the injury can be fatal. Then, report the accident to your employer in writing.
Next, contact a personal injury attorney to learn about your legal options. Workers’ compensation typically covers worksite injuries. Your attorney can help you understand how workers’ compensation and personal injury claims function, and he or she help you navigate legal proceedings to your greatest advantage. If someone else’s negligence contributed to your injury, you can obtain compensation from the negligent party. This may be the property manager, product manufacturer, contractor, or another involved person or enterprise.
As soon as you seek medical attention for your injuries and can begin researching attorneys, start with the Law Offices of Howard Kitay. Our personal injury attorneys in California have helped hundreds of clients get back on their feet and pursue justice for injuries sustained in negligent circumstances. Do not hesitate to call (619) 442-0542 today for your free consultation.