Although the government and organizations like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have worked to make the construction industry safe in recent decades, construction remains one of the most dangerous jobs in the USA. People working in this industry are exposed to different types of dangers that cause serious injuries and even fatalities. These injuries and fatalities are due to the workers or the companies they work for. Some injuries are also more common than others, and we will be looking at these types of injuries below.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are quite common after a fall. The two main types of falls in the construction industry are slips and falls and falling from a height. The most serious types of falls are those that happen from a height of over a few feet and can occur due to improperly mounted scaffolding, improper use of harnesses and other protective equipment, slips, losing one’s footing, uneven surfaces, and improper use of ladders. Workers can also fall when dismounting from height if they do it incorrectly.
Falling objects can also cause traumatic brain injuries. Construction workers often work with heavy equipment that can seriously injure someone walking below when they fall. If the equipment is not too heavy, the injured person might only get a concussion, but even that needs serious medical attention.
Workers should always secure all their equipment and have safety nets to catch them if they fall. Otherwise, they or the person who set up the site could be liable for any brain injuries they cause.
Crushing injuries are, unfortunately, also common in construction sites, and they typically happen due to worker mistakes, improper training, or general carelessness. One cause of crushing injuries is fingers being caught in moving objects.
Cement mixers and other equipment have parts that move in a circular motion. If a worker’s hand gets between moving parts, they could lose one or multiple fingers. There is also a significant risk of a worker losing one or multiple limbs, which is common if their clothes, equipment, or protective clothing are caught and pulled into a moving machine.
A second cause of these accidents is workers being run over by trucks and other vehicles. Construction sites are full of activity, with large trucks always coming and going. If a worker falls at the wrong time, such as when a vehicle is backing out or stands in a vehicle’s blind spot, the driver will not see them and will accidentally run over them.
The risk of being in truck accidents also extends to workers being caught between vehicles and walls. These types are rare due to the safety measures most construction sites have to prevent them, but they still happen.
Hearing damage can be considered an injury due to how it happens on construction sites. It occurs due to loud noises when a construction worker enters a worksite without proper hearing protection. Hearing damage starts almost immediately if the noise is loud enough, and gradually worsens the longer someone is exposed.
The primary sources of noise in construction sites are vehicles, equipment, and explosions. Vehicles do not make as much noise as the other two, but the damage they do cannot be ignored. Equipment such as jackhammers are very loud, and the risk of hearing impairment when using them is significant because of how close one has to stand to them. Even using a jackhammer for a few minutes will result in temporary hearing loss.
Vibrations are a significant factor that determines the level of hearing damage that many people do not think about. Vibrations can cause structural damage that causes hearing loss after some time. Properly using the right hearing protection to prevent hearing loss and other equipment that dampens vibrations cannot be emphasized enough in such situations.
Lastly, hearing loss can happen due to explosions. There are construction projects where big rocks must be broken down into smaller ones, especially when creating a foundation. The method of choice for doing this is explosions. They are relatively inexpensive and work instantly depending on the person performing the job. As with loud equipment, hearing loss will occur as soon as the sound waves hit your ears if you are not using the right equipment.
The human body conducts electricity more efficiently than most people imagine. If a person touches a live wire, the electricity will flow through them, and they will experience a shock or an electrocution. An electric shock is very different from an electrocution. Electric shocks are non-fatal and happen over a brief period. However, they can cause severe tissue injuries and skin burns.
Electrocutions, on the other hand, are almost always fatal electrical injuries. If the person survives an electrocution, they will likely have permanent injuries that change their lives drastically. Since they are so serious, workers should protect themselves and their co-workers.
First, ensuring the wires are never live unless they are supposed to be, and that there are adequate warnings, can help. Second, it is important to label all wires that could potentially be dangerous or get them out of the way until they are required. Third, only qualified and experienced electricians should handle electricity at construction sites. They are the ones who know how to work with electricity safely and always the ones who know when the wires are live.
Repetitive Motion Injuries
These types of injuries can happen in any line of work. In construction, most repetitive motion injuries have to do with the back. Construction workers bend down to pick up objects and carry them to where they are required. This is where the repetitive motions and training on the back come from. Wrist and neck injuries often seen in office settings are not as common in construction. Proven repetitive motion injuries are a justified reason for asking for workers’ compensation.
Construction remains a dangerous line of work despite the laws and measures in place to ensure it is as safe as possible. Workers can suffer different types of injuries, often due to mistakes they make, but sometimes due to the negligence of other parties. Workers injured at construction sites due to the negligent actions of others can contact our attorneys at The Cassisi Law Firm. You can also visit our offices at 10208 101st Ave Ozone Park, NY 11416, or call us now for a free consultation at (718) 441-5050.