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Common Construction Injury Types

The risk of construction injury is particularly significant to construction workers who faces workplace hazards that are unique to their industry. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), construction workers are particularly vulnerable to workplace injuries and fatalities, including those resulting from falls, electrocution, and object strikes. While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has promulgated construction industry regulations to limit and reduce this types of construction site accidents, work injuries involving heavy equipment, head injuries, fatal falls, remain part of common construction accidents.

Causes of Construction Injuries and Some Legal Remedies

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the causes of construction injuries are numerous and varied. While some of these causes are easy to spot, others are less obvious. Familiarizing yourself with common injury types will help you avoid injury and identify any injuries you may have already suffered. Below, you'll find explanations of some of the most common construction injury types.

Falls

One of the most common types of construction injuries are falls. Construction workers are at risk from falls from scaffolding, cranes, roofs, ladders, and other heights at work. If you're injured in a fall, you may want to file a Workers' Compensation Claim and possibly a personal injury lawsuit against your employer or another party. Construction companies may be responsible for installing fall protection mechanisms to reduce worker deaths and injuries, and legal action could be a significant tool for enforcement.

Falling Objects

Construction workers are at risk of being struck by objects from above, for example, tools used above the worker or construction materials that aren't properly secured. Brain and spinal injuries can occur, even if you're wearing appropriate safety equipment such as hardhats.

Equipment Related Accidents

Heavy machinery equipment used on construction sites can fail or be dangerous. For example, a forklift could fail to work properly, a dumpster could fall over unexpectedly, or a nail gun could misfire. If equipment is unsafe or dangerous and caused your injuries, you may wish to discuss with your attorney a legal theory called "product liability," which explores who is responsible for defective or dangerous products.

Backovers and Crushing Hazards

Workers are at risk of being run over by large trucks backing out of construction sites. They are also sometimes crushed between large vehicles and walls or concrete. These types of accidents can be related to supervisor neglect in controlling a work site.

Fires and Explosions

Construction sites often contain hazardous conditions such as exposed wiring, leaking pipes, and flammable chemicals that could lead to fires and explosions. Though less common than some other types of accidents, these can be fatal or result in serious injuries.

Trench or Building Collapses

Another common type of construction injury is when a trench that's being built collapses on the workers inside. A building that's being demolished or that's under construction can suddenly or unexpectedly collapse, killing or seriously injuring those inside. Even if the cause of the accident can't be directly determined, a negligence legal theory of "res ipsa loquitur" may apply and you can still be compensated without proving the manner in which a potential defendant may have been negligent.

Repetitive Motion Injuries, Heat Stroke, and Other Overexertion

Due to the hard physical labor required for construction work, employees in this industry often have injuries related to overexertion, including:

  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • Muscle and joint damage due to overuse
  • Heat stress in hot conditions that can lead to brain, heart, or kidney damage or death
  • Hypothermia or frostbite resulting in the loss of fingers, toes, and parts of the face in cold climates

High Lead Levels

Unsafe construction sites and work practices can lead to work exposures to lead. Construction workers have represented a large percentage of individuals suffering from elevated blood lead concentration cases.

Respiratory Diseases

Thousands of construction workers have died from pneumoconiosis, legally defined as a chronic dust disease of the lung arising out employment, usually in coalmines. The most common pneumoconiosis conditions that have led to death in construction workers are AsbestosisCoal Workers' Black Lung, and Silicosis. If you're suffering from one of these respiratory conditions, you may have a product liability claim against your employers or the manufacturers or suppliers of asbestos, silica, or other product that harmed you.

Types of Medical Conditions Caused by Construction Injuries

The construction injuries described above can lead to medical conditions including:

  • Amputation of a finger, toe, or limb
  • Broken bones or fractures
  • Burns for fires, explosions, or electrocutions
  • Cuts or lacerations from exposed nails, tools, machinery, etc.
  • Death, in which case the construction worker's family should consider a wrongful death claim to be compensated for the loss of their loved one
  • Eye injuries or loss of vision from exposure to dangerous chemicals or gases, or from being impaled by objects such as shrapnel from grinding metal
  • Shoulder, knee, or ankle injures such as sprains or overuse damage
  • Loss of hearing from the loud noises on construction sites, or failure to wear hearing protection while using machinery like loud jack hammers
  • Paralysis and other spinal cord injuries, especially from falls
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from the experience of a traumatic accident, such as when fellow workers are also injured or killed
  • Toxic exposure to chemicals, such as from welding jobs
  • Head or traumatic brain injuries (TBI) often from falls or from having objects dropped on a construction worker on the job site

Get an Initial Review of Your Claim From a Local Attorney

If you've been injured at your construction site, it's in your best interest to consult with a construction accident attorney to protect your legal right to compensation. Typically, your employer's workers' compensation plan will cover your injuries and the time away from work, but every case is unique and you may need additional legal firepower. If in doubt, have an attorney provide an initial review of your claim today.

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