How to Avoid Common Types of Construction Injuries
By: David Cheverie
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one in ten construction workers are injured every year. It’s a harrowing statistic, especially since some of these injuries could have been prevented. Falls are the most common types of accident, as they account for 22% of accidents reported by construction workers. Other common injuries occur from falling objects, equipment-related accidents, heavy machinery/construction vehicle incidents, fires and explosions, trench or building collapses, and repetitive motion injuries.
The most common types of injuries that occur at construction sites include: broken bones, cuts or lacerations, amputation, burns, eye injuries, shoulder, knee, or ankle injuries (sprains and overuse), loss of hearing, and head or traumatic brain injuries. Falls occur when a worker falls from scaffolding, cranes, roofs, ladders, or other highly positioned objects. A fall can lead to fractures, displacements, strains, or even a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Equipment related injuries occur when equipment malfunctions or is being misused. Heavy machinery poses a threat when being improperly operated or the machinery is faulty. Some construction sites contain hazardous conditions, which can lead to fires and explosions. Trench or building collapses may occur without warning and can cause serious injury to all persons on a job site. Repetitive motion injuries area almost impossible to escape given the necessary duties of a construction worker. These motions can also lead to overexertion or heat stroke.
While some accidents are simply unavoidable, other injuries could be prevented with proper safety measures. There are a number of measures a construction worker can take to avoid injury. While on a construction site, it is important to be constantly aware of your surroundings and to wear proper safety gear. Many incidents are not preventable, but injuries can be minimized if an employee is wearing protective hard hats, gloves, goggles, high visibility clothing, etc. It is also important to keep the worksite clean. Clearing a job site of clutter and mess is not an easy task, yet it will aid in preventing trips and falls. Equipment related injuries can be prevented by making sure that all equipment is regularly inspected.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is estimated that 60% of construction workplace injuries occur within the employee’s first year; a more experienced, better-trained worker is less prone to injury, which shows that training is necessary for creating a safe job site. In 2014, 1 in 5 worker deaths were in the construction industry. When operating heavy machinery, it is important to operate “defensively,” meaning that an employee should operate all machinery carefully, slowly, and using his or her undivided attention. Personal care is also essential while working on a construction site. In order to make sure that a worker is not sustaining any long-term damage to his/her body, an employee should be sure to attend regular physical examinations. An employee should also make sure to get enough rest, given that many workers operate dangerous equipment on the job.
Even while taking these precautions, an employee may still be injured on the job. The injury may be a result of a faulty product, improper managerial actions, or poor working conditions. In these cases, there is a specific party at fault. At Hach & Rose, LLP, we have over a decade of experience in construction claims. If you or a loved one has been injured on a construction site, do not hesitate to call (212) 779-0057 for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys or visit us on the web at www.unionlawfirm.com. Hach & Rose, LLP, will work with you to seek justice against those responsible for your injury.