WLF Personal Injury Lawyers Explore the Statistics
The likelihood of getting injured on a construction site is higher than in other places. According to OSHA, 4,821 workers were killed on the job in 2014, of which 899 (or 20.5%) were killed at construction sites. This means that roughly one in five worker fatalities occur at construction sites. The number of people injured is even higher and runs into the tens of thousands. Many of these injuries and deaths are caused by construction equipment.
Causes of Equipment-Related Injuries
The four top types of equipment-related accidents at construction sites are falls, electrocution, struck by object, and caught-in/between equipment.
- Falls: Falls account for nearly 40% of all construction site deaths and injuries. Many of the falls are caused by defective scaffolding, ladder and other equipment. Falling from a great height can lead to severe injuries and death.
- Electrocution: Workers are electrocuted when mishandling electrical equipment or when using defective electrical equipment, such as electric saws and other power tools. Electrocution accounts for about 8% of construction site deaths and injuries annually.
- Struck by equipment: Being struck by heavy equipment, such as cranes, is a hazard that construction site workers face on a daily basis. About 8% of worker injuries and deaths are caused by objects striking them.
- Caught in/between: Worker are at risk of being caught in or between equipment, machinery and vehicles. Caught in/between accounts for above 4% of all construction deaths.
- Fire: Defective equipment can burst into flames, severely injuring or killing the workers handling them.
Types of Equipment-Related Injuries
Construction equipment injuries are often severe and sometimes fatal because of the massive force of impact. The most common types of construction equipment injuries are:
- Amputation: When workers are struck by or caught between equipment and machinery, their fingers, toes and limbs become so mangled that the only option is amputation. Most victims survive, but many are left disabled for life.
- Broken or fractured bones: Broken and fractured bones of the arms, legs and ribs are common injuries related to falls, struck by equipment and caught in/between accidents.
- Cuts and lacerations: Cuts and lacerations are mostly not fatal, but result in severe pain and disfigurement. They are often caused by contact with moving parts or sharp edges of equipment, such as electric saws.
- Impalement: Improper use of nailers, drills and other power tools can cause impalement, resulting in severe injury or death.
- Eye injuries: Electrical equipment and tools with sharp or pointed edges can cause eye injuries, resulting in temporary or permanent blindness of one or both eyes.
- Muscle and ligament injuries: Overuse of heavy equipment and tools can cause muscle and ligament injures. Some injuries can have long term effects.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): A blow to the head by a heavy object can result in traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The victim loses normal function of the brain, which can have serious impacts on his ability to work or live a meaningful life.
- Spine injuries: Falling from a great height, such as from the top of a scaffolding, and being hit by heavy equipment can cause spine injuries ranging from chronic lower back pain to paralysis.
- Loss of hearing: Failure to wear hearing protection can result in loss of hearing while using machinery such as a jack hammer.
How to Receive Compensation
Construction site injuries are often covered by workers’ compensation, a form of insurance that provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured on the job. In exchange, the employee loses their right to sue their employer. If your accident did not involve a third party, then workers’ compensation may be your only option.
However, you may take legal action if another party besides your employer was involved in the accident. If you think you have a case, then consult with personal injury lawyers who are experienced in handling construction injury cases.