OSHA has stated in the past that construction is one of the most dangerous industries in the country. Construction workers often find themselves working in environments with the potential for falls, electrocution, burns, and crush injury. They work among dangerous heavy equipment and sometimes in unstable environments such as trenches subject to collapse or on top of old roofs with weak rotted out sections. The dynamic and fluid nature of the construction work sites also contribute to the potential for accidents. When workers are exposed to these hazards every day, it’s easy to understand why so many injuries occur in this industry.
Common Minnesota work injuries in construction include:
Falls from Heights
Building most structures will require working off the ground. This includes working on roofs, ladders, and scaffolds. The exposure to potential falls is serious enough. However, construction workers must carry out their job in spite of this, and therefore devote much of their focus on the work at hand rather than exclusively on personal safety. Workers can lose their balance on roofs, ladders can be placed on unstable ground, and faulty scaffold erection can occur.
Although power tools expose construction workers to the risk of electrical shock, the greatest danger is electrocution from accidental contact with high voltage power lines. Where there are buildings, there will always be nearby power lines for providing electricity. Ladders and scaffolding can come into contact with high voltage lines. Workers may accidentally contact lines with long-handled tools or when the wind catches a ladder while it’s being repositioned. Crane operators have suffered electrocution after making accidental contact. Electrocution can also occur when earth moving equipment contact buried electrical lines.
Overexertion, insufficient hydration, and inadequate heat acclimatization can cause heat stroke during summer heat waves. Heat stroke can be fatal or cause long-term health conditions when vital organs are permanently damaged.
Impact from Falling Objects
Construction workers often work at multiple levels. Tools, materials, and other objects accidentally dropped from one level endanger those working below. Hard hats provide protection from small objects, but large objects falling from great heights can inflict head injuries nonetheless. Objects can also strike and injure other parts of the body.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Because the construction area is a dynamic environment, it can’t always be kept clear of hazards that cause slips, trips, and falls. Uneven ground or sharp objects can complicate the landing of a fall and increase the injury potential.
Heavy Equipment Accidents
To avoid injuring others, operators of cranes, bulldozers, and other heavy equipment must maintain an awareness of their surroundings at all times. Workers as well must remain aware of nearby heavy equipment. Cranes typically work together with workers on the ground. Miscommunication between the operator and ground workers has caused serious injuries.
Caught between Heavy Objects, Materials, or Machines
In areas filled with large machines moving heavy objects, workers can become caught between the machines, or large objects when they move in opposite directions, or between a moving object and an immovable object.
If You Are Injured
- Seek medical attention. Don’t self diagnose or try to shrug off an injury. Serious injuries aren’t always apparent at first.
- Report the accident to your employer yourself if you can or have another do this for you.
- Gather information about the accident just in case. Write down the names of witnesses to your accident. Note the accident details while they’re fresh in your memory, and get photos of the accident scene if possible.
- See a worker’s compensation attorney. Worker’s compensation attorneys with years of experience have helped many people in your present situation. They can get you what you are owed to ensure that your recovery expenses, loss of wages, and other expenses are covered. People who file claims on their own commonly underestimate the compensation they will need. An experienced attorney will have additional insights such as whether a third-party can be held liable for your injuries. If so, the attorney can get additional compensation owed to you. Finally, your employer may not have your best interests in mind.
If you have any questions, please contact us.
Contact A Mankato Workers' Compensation Lawyer Today
Contact the law office of Chesley, Harvey & Carpenter today at (507) 625-3000 for a free case review. We are located in Mankato, Minnesota.