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Injuries Among Construction Workers

Steve Wagner

In 2011, 738 construction workers were killed on the job due to accidents at their worksites. On any given day, there are almost 6.5 million people working on construction sites in the United States. Out of those 6.5 million workers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 190,000 injuries are suffered every year due to work-related accidents. It stands to reason that if proper safety precautions were always taken, if training protocol was observed, and if employees were always alert and never overworked, accidents could be severely cut back and potentially hundreds of lives could be saved every year.

Accidents at Construction Sites

The Department of Labor and Industries reported that 95% of construction injuries are due to six different types of accidents:

  • Getting caught in, under or between an object(s): Any part of the body can be caught in a piece of heavy machinery, crushed underneath falling materials, etc.
  • Falls from a high surface: Whether falling off scaffolding or from a cherry picker or another high location, falls are an extremely common way construction injuries occur.
  • Slips, Trips & Falls: Different from falls that occur from heights, a slip, trip or fall accident occurs at ground level. These can be caused by tripping over an object, slipping in a liquid, etc.
  • Being struck by something/someone: Getting hit by a piece of equipment or machinery, or having a part of your body collide against something both fall under this category.
  • Motor vehicle accidents: Whether a construction worker is hit by a piece of moving machinery or struck by a vehicle while they are working on the roadway, vehicle accidents are a serious danger to workers.
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders: Often caused from overexertion by repetitive motion or from lifting, squatting, etc. These types of injuries most frequently affect the knees, ankles, feet, neck, back and arms.

Construction site accident injuries are often caused by employer negligence, whether they are negligent in safety training or negligent in observing practices on the site, workers can get injured simply because the people in charge don’t do their jobs properly and don’t pay close enough attention.

Injuries also occur due to co-worker negligence. If a co-worker is tired or overworked, or if they get lazy and don’t observe proper safety protocol, injuries can occur because a co-worker misuses machinery, drops materials, spills fluids, etc.

No matter what type of injury a construction worker obtains on the job, it is still the employers responsibility to make sure that worker is cared for properly, taken to receive prompt and appropriate medical care, and given the proper compensation for the injuries received.

Death at Construction Sites

Deaths on construction sites are always tragic, and often leave behind families who relied on the worker as a breadwinner or sole source of income. Not only is the income lost, but families suffer the loss of a loved one, a tragedy that can never be undone.

In 2011, 17.6% of all private industry work-related fatalities were due to construction accidents. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) names the top “fatal four” accidents as follows:

  • Falls – responsible for 259 construction deaths (35% of the total number)
  • Struck by Object – responsible for 73 construction deaths (10%)
  • Electrocutions – responsible for 69 construction deaths (9%)
  • Caught-in/between – responsible for 18 construction deaths (2%)

Very simply said, if the fatal four could be eliminated, we could save the lives of over 400 workers each year. With proper safety observation, adequate training and supervision and a little extra precaution, it is not to far-reaching to believe that these numbers could be drastically cut back.

Suffering Through Alone

When a construction worker is injured or killed on the job, families are often left to fend for themselves against the employer or insurance company that should take responsibility for the loss. Instead of being generous and helping these families in their time of need, these companies often worry more about their bottom lines and do everything in their power to avoid paying for their mistakes.

If families knew their rights, and were more anxious to fight back against employers and insurance companies, these big corporations might think twice before deciding to protect their pocket books rather than care for their employees and their employees’ families.

What Are Your Rights?

So what are those “rights” we mentioned? For starters, you have the right to be compensated for any injury you have obtained on the job. If an employer tries to claim the injury was not their fault or the injury did not occur on work property or during work hours, it becomes the employee’s responsibility to prove otherwise. If your loved one is killed on the job, the employer is responsible for supplying death benefits to the family or next-of-kin to that employee. Instead of doing this, companies may fight against the claims, saying that the accident was the employee’s fault and they should not have to pay.

In any of these cases, injured workers or the families who have lost loved ones always deserve compensation. Whether an employer readily complies or not shouldn’t determine whether you are well cared for. Securing your compensation may become a difficult process, but another right you have is that of legal representation. Hiring the right lawyer to help you get the fair compensation you deserve is a huge step in the right direction. Having someone who knows the legal system, who knows the ins and outs of work comp law, and who has fought and won against big corporations many times before, is crucial to fighting back against your employer.

Don’t just accept this situation as your new “normal”, and don’t try to fight against an employer or insurance company on your own. Give the construction site accident lawyers at Wagner Reese a call at (888) 204-8440 and let us assist you in getting the compensation you deserve. Getting started is as simple as making a phone call. We offer free consultations and when we’re fighting a construction injury or wrongful death lawsuit, we don’t charge any fees until your compensation is secured. We know money is tight, we know you are suffering and dealing with huge burdens at this point in your life. Give us a call today and let us help you get back on your feet!

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