With near-constant construction happening across the state of New York in late summer and early fall, getting injured on the job is a serious daily concern for construction workers. Construction has long been known as the most dangerous of all industries: in 2018, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one in five workplace deaths happened within the construction industry.
Injuries are also incredibly common among construction workers, but some are far more common than others. Knowing about the most common types of injuries and causes is one of the best ways to protect yourself at work. I’ll tell you more below, as well as when a New York construction lawyer can help.
Top Causes of Construction Site Injuries
In New York and across the country, construction workers tend to experience similar kinds of accidents that result in serious injuries and death. OSHA research has revealed that there are several major causes of construction site injuries. Lifting, using a tool or machine, and carrying heavy objects all commonly cause injuries. This makes sense since most workers perform these activities every day. In any given work day, a variety of unexpected situations can also arise that are dangerous enough to cause an injury. Collapsing ladders, tools or equipment that malfunction, machinery or tool accidents, traffic accidents, and dangerous conditions created by other workers are all possible. Some situations, however, are more dangerous than others.
Driving a machine is one of the highest-risk jobs on a construction site, and scissor lifts and forklifts are some of the most dangerous types of machinery. A 2016 OSHA study that followed scissor lift injuries over a year showed that a significant number of deaths and injuries involving scissor lifts could have been prevented. Bad fall protection and poor vehicle stabilization and positioning were often the culprits, according to the study. But these scenarios can be prevented with improved site management where managers are diligent about their crews following safety regulations. To avoid accidents when driving a forklift, make sure to check your blind spots, fuel safely, and pay attention to ground conditions.
A second major cause of injuries is falling from a height, whether it is from a building, scaffolding, or from machinery. Falls are also the most common cause of death among construction workers, and even short falls or falls into holes or ditches can cause serious injuries. (If a trench collapses, a worker could be left without air or suffer severe injuries from being crushed.) Scaffolding collapses are another cause of serious injuries, and often result in serious injuries or death.
As anyone in the industry knows, construction workers use a variety of electrical equipment from generators and power tools to other types of machinery with great frequency. They are also often in contact with electrical wiring that can put them at risk of electrical burns. All of this makes electrical injuries and deaths incredibly common on construction sites.
Another common cause of injuries is one that is quite preventable: failing to use proper protective gear. Workers who do not wear hardhats, safety glasses, and other personal protective equipment are at higher risk for serious injuries and death.
Finally, a less scary but still serious cause of injuries is repetitive motion. On construction sites, workers often do the same actions again and again, damaging muscles and soft tissue, reducing mobility, and causing pain. Whether an injury is major or minor, however, medical bills can be incredibly expensive. If you are struggling to get proper compensation from an insurer after an injury, a New York construction lawyer may be able to help you negotiate.
Common Types of Construction Injuries
Because of the ever-changing nature of a construction site, a wide range of injuries can occur. Electrical burns and electrocution, eye injuries and blindness, and head, brain, and spinal cord injuries are among the most serious injuries a worker can face.
Falls often result in broken bones, neck, shoulder, and back injuries, as well as knee and ankle injuries. Collapsing trenches can cause similar injuries. Construction sites are also home to many types of toxic chemicals, which can cause serious illness among workers.
Which types of injuries you are likely to sustain also depends on your job duties. If you drive a forklift or bulldozer, hearing loss could be an injury you sustain. As you know if you have worked in construction, noise is a serious problem at sites, and according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), fourteen percent of all construction workers experience hearing loss. Most equipment, such as forklifts and bulldozers, emits sound levels far above 85 decibels, the level at which hearing damage begins. One third of all workers say they do not use hearing protection, but doing so could make a huge difference in terms of keeping their hearing intact.
In terms of construction injury statistics, it is important to note that workers between the ages of 25 and 34 are most likely to be injured. Companies with under ten employees and self-employed workers comprise half of all construction site deaths, according to Industrial Safety and Hygiene News.
Serious Workplace Injuries Go Unreported
One of the most upsetting issues in regard to workplace injuries is that half of all serious workplace injuries are never reported. This means many people may not be receiving proper medical care or compensation for serious health conditions they endure after a construction site injury. In many cases, an employer, manager, or even an equipment manufacturer is to blame for what happened and needs to be held accountable.
Because these cases can be complicated and a full recovery is not possible without proper compensation, working with a New York construction lawyer is often in your best interest.
If you have been injured on the job, get in touch with Buttafuoco & Associates for a free case consultation at 1-800-NOW-HURT.