Construction sites can be potentially dangerous for workers because they contain equipment and involve activities that could result in serious injuries or even fatalities. When construction companies, contractors and property owners don't pay attention to safety standards and proper training for workers, construction sites become even more perilous for the men and women who are involved in doing the job.
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), nearly 6.5 million people work at about 252,000 construction sites across the United States on any given day. The fatality rate in the construction industry is higher than the national average for all industries. Potential hazards for construction workers include falls from heights, trench collapse, scaffold collapse, electrical injuries or electrocutions and lack of personal protective equipment.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction site accident, it is important that you fully understand your legal rights after a work injury. An experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyer who has had a successful track record of handling construction accident and third-party construction accident lawsuits will be able to help you secure maximum compensation for all your losses.
What Causes Injuries at Construction Sites?
Here are some of the most common causes of injuries suffered by construction workers:
Falls: There is no question that falls are the leading cause of death and catastrophic injury in construction sites. In 2018, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 320 fatal falls to a lower level out of 1,008 construction fatalities. Construction workers are at risk of falling from scaffolding, cranes, roofs, ladders and other tools that are commonly used for construction. Falls could result in major injuries including brain injuries, spinal cord trauma and broken bones, to mention a few.
Falling objects: Construction workers are also at a heightened risk of being struck by objects from above. For example, workers could get hit by tools or flying debris. Any items that are not properly secured could fall and strike workers below. Even when workers are wearing hard hats, they may suffer serious head injuries or spinal cord injuries.
Equipment-related accidents: Heavy machinery that is used on construction sites could potentially malfunction or fail and cause serious injuries. For example, when a saw doesn't have the necessary guards, it could cause finger or limb amputations, or lacerations that result in severe bleeding. If an unsafe piece of equipment has caused your injuries, you may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer of a defective piece of equipment.
Vehicle-related accidents: Workers are also at risk of being run over by vehicles such as forklifts or large trucks, mostly when they are backing out of construction sites. These types of accidents can be prevented by having safety protocols in place. Neglect by a supervisor or co-worker could also lead to these types of accidents.
Fires and explosions: Construction sites also use and store hazardous materials such as flammable gases and chemicals. Dangerous conditions such as exposed wiring, leaking pipes or unsafe use or storage of flammable substances could lead to fires and explosions. Such accidents could result in serious burn injuries or smoke inhalation injuries, both of which could be fatal.
Trench or wall collapses: Another common type of construction injury occurs when a trench that is being built collapses on workers at the site. This could cause workers to be struck by heavy debris or buried under rubble. Walls that are not properly secured can also collapse and cause devastating injuries.
Some of the common injuries and medical conditions suffered by construction workers as a result of workplace injuries include:
- Head injuries or traumatic brain injuries: This may occur after a fall or as a result of heavy objects being dropped on the worker. Head injuries can have lifelong effects and may require multiple surgeries or even lengthy rehabilitation depending on the nature and extent of the injury.
- Spinal cord damage: Damage to the spinal cord may result in neck and/or back injuries. These types of injuries may leave workers with chronic pain or in some case, could even cause partial or complete paralysis. When catastrophic spinal injuries occur, individuals are disabled for life and are unable to return to work or earn a livelihood.
- Burn injuries: Burn injuries can be disabling and cause severe deformities that may not even be repaired with cosmetic surgeries. Burn injury victims often require costly and painful skin graft procedures. These types of expenditures are often not covered by health insurance policies, which means many end up paying out of pocket.
- Amputations: Finger, toe or limb amputations could occur when machinery or equipment malfunction. Such injuries could also threaten a worker's job and career.
- Broken bones: While broken bone injuries may not be life threatening, some types of bone fractures can leave workers with deformities and/or chronic pain. Most fractures require lengthy rehabilitation and ongoing treatment to recover strength and mobility in the affected parts of the body.
- Eye and ear injuries: Construction workers may suffer eye injuries as a result of being impaled by objects such as nails fired by a malfunctioning nail gun. Loud noises on construction sites could cause hearing damage especially if the worker is not provided with hearing protection.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Workers who are severely injured or experience a traumatic event may suffer psychological injuries such as PTSD.
Contacting an Experienced Construction Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury on a construction site, it would be in your best interest to contact an experienced construction accident attorney who can help protect your legal right to compensation. In such cases, workers may be able to file a lawsuit against a third party whose negligence caused the accident and resulting injuries. Examples of third parties include general contractors, construction companies, sub-contractors, property owners, and manufacturers of dangerous or defective products.
The experienced and knowledgeable construction accident attorneys at Greenberg and Ruby can help evaluate your claim and help you navigate the work injury claim process. Call (323) 782-0535 to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.