Unfortunately, the most common injuries in construction accidents that workers’ comp lawyers handle are fatal injuries. In such accidents, workers usually pass away due to falls, electrocution, struck-by hazards, and caught-in hazards. These are known as the big four construction hazards, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
If construction workers do survive these types of accidents, they may suffer from a variety of injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, and burns. The type and severity of the injuries vary on a case-by-case basis, of course.
Falls Can Cause Serious Injuries on a Construction Site
According to OSHA, falls on construction sites usually occur in one of the following three ways:
- Falling from an overhead platform
- Falling from an elevated worksite
- Falling into a hole in the floor or walls
Falling from height can be especially dangerous for construction workers, and OSHA lists the following preventative measures that should be taken:
- Guards around every floor hole into which a worker can accidentally walk
- Guardrails and toe-boards around every elevated open-sided platform, floor, or runway.
- Guardrails and toe-boards to prevent workers from falling into or onto dangerous machines or equipment, such as a vat of acid or a conveyor belt
- Safety harnesses and lines, safety nets, stair railings, and handrails placed near areas where falls are likely to occur
Injuries Resulting From Falls
If a fall on a construction site does not prove fatal, the resulting injuries can still be severe. For example, falls can cause traumatic brain injuries (TBI), broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and vision impairment or blindness. These can lead to temporary or permanent disabilities.
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Electrocution Can Cause Serious Injuries on a Construction Site
Various construction projects call for the installation of electrical wires, which can be quite dangerous. OSHA lists the top electrical hazards that can lead to electrocution on a worksite:
- Contact with power lines: Overhead or buried power lines at a construction site often carry extremely high voltage. Fatal electrocution accidents can occur, but burns and falls from elevations can also happen when a construction worker comes into contact with a power line. Equipment can contact power lines and increase these risks.
- Lack of ground-fault protection: The regular use of electrical equipment causes wear and tear that can result in insulation breaks, short circuits, and exposed wires. A lack of ground-fault protection can send current through a construction worker’s body, causing explosions or fires that burn the worker.
- Missing or discontinuous paths to ground: If the power supply to the electrical equipment at a construction site is not grounded or has a broken path, fault currents may travel to a worker’s body, causing electrical burns or death.
- Improperly used equipment: Equipment that requires electricity can also cause explosions, fires, or burns to the hands and arms of the construction worker.
- Improper use of extension or flexible cords: Extension or flexible cords that experience normal wear and tear may expose electrical wires, which is very dangerous to construction site workers. Cords that are not 3-wire type, not designed for hard usage, or that have been modified can increase the risk of experiencing contact with an electrical current.
Struck-by Hazards Can Cause Serious Injuries on a Construction Site
Struck-by hazards on a construction site can include the following:
- Struck-by falling objects: When construction materials are being moved overhead, they can fall and strike workers.
- Struck-by flying objects: When construction workers grind or strike materials, they can go flying and hit a worker.
- Struck-by swinging or slipping objects: When construction workers lift loads, pieces of the load or the entire load itself can swing off a platform and strike a worker.
- Struck-by objects on ground level: When construction workers transport materials on ground levels with forklifts and other vehicles, the material can shift and fall off the vehicle and strike a worker.
Injuries Caused by Struck-by Hazards
Injuries that can result from struck-by hazards can include traumatic brain injuries (TBI), broken bones, and fall injuries. These can cause serious medical complications that can last a lifetime.
Caught-in Hazards Can Cause Serious Injuries on a Construction Site
According to OSHA, caught-in hazards refer to accidents in which a construction worker gets caught in a piece of equipment or another object on the construction site. Caught-in hazards can involve:
- Cranes and heavy equipment: Construction workers may get pinned between a piece of heavy equipment and an immovable object.
- Tools and hand-operated equipment: Many pieces of construction equipment include safety guards. When construction workers remove or disable these guards, they can get parts of their bodies, such as their hands, caught in the machine.
- The handling of materials: Construction workers who place themselves between heavy materials and immovable structures when staking or storing materials can get caught in between them.
- Trenches and excavations: Cave-ins can happen in trenches during an excavation project on a construction site.
When caught-in hazards exist on a construction site, workers can get crushed and suffer various injuries, such as broken bones, punctured lungs, and head injuries.
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Call Jackman Law Firm for Help After a Construction Accident
If you suffered injuries in a construction accident, our attorneys can help. At Jackman Law Firm, our construction accident lawyers can handle your case while you rest and recuperate from your injuries. We can investigate your accident and explore your options for compensation, such as a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
We can handle all the paperwork and help you meet important deadlines in the legal process. Contact us today to get started on your case. Our team gives all prospective clients free consultations with no obligation.