Construction work is one of the most dangerous jobs in America. From falls, to equipment malfunctions, to electrocution, there are plenty of opportunities for workers to injure themselves while on the job. Insurance companies see this as a high risk prospect, and may charge higher rates because of it. On the other hand, contractors need the insurance, but affordable rates are few and far between. New York makes it even harder on contractors with the “Scaffold Law”, which exempts the employee from any fault in the cases of a gravity related accident. Falling from a tall height and falling objects are grouped into the category of gravity related accidents. Construction accidents range from very minor to deadly, but employees are entitled to a safe working environment no matter how dangerous the job can be. Here are a few types of construction accidents that could qualify you for workers compensation, and how to avoid them in the future.
- Wiring a building is a necessary, yet risky, component of any building project. Even if you’re not responsible for installing the wires directly, you could still be exposed to them anywhere on a construction site. Depending on the voltage, injuries can range from minor shocks, to burns, to nerve damage, and even to death. You can avoid these injuries by ensuring all exposed wires are capped, avoiding use of power tools near wires, following all safety guidelines regarding power lines, keeping the site clean and free of debris, wearing protective gear, and receiving proper training beforehand.
- Slips and falls. Injuries from slips, trips, and falls are easily avoided accidents, but often have the most severe consequences. Running cables on the ground, uneven surfaces, wet or slippery surfaces, tools and other debris on the ground, and malfunctioning lifts can cause a slip, trip, or fall that results in fractures, broken bones, sprained joints, torn ligaments, concussions, and even death. It’s important to not only avoid potential hazards, but to properly warn others if you see an area of vulnerability on the site. Falls to a lower level are very serious and can be avoided with proper use of guardrails and harnesses.
- Falling objects. Safety helmets are a must on any construction site, but falling objects can still injure you severely. Tools, materials, and debris can be heavy and gain momentum falling from tall heights. A strike from a falling object can injure your spine, neck, and even head with a hardhat on. These injuries can be avoided by securing tools that are on higher levels, placing smaller tools/phones/pens in a sealed pocket, ensuring nothing is near or hanging over an edge, and roping off areas below a potentially dangerous zone.
- Machinery accidents. Rarely do workers experience a machinery accident and come out unscathed. Body parts could be lacerated or crushed, bones could break, and nerves could be damaged for life in a machinery accident. These accidents can be avoided through proper training, regular maintenance on machines, affixing guards and rails, using protective gear, and having a zero tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol influence while on the job.
These are only a few types of accidents that can occur on any construction work site, but many more may qualify for workers compensation. If you have been injured on the job, David Resnick and Associates recommends you seek medical treatment immediately, notify your supervisor, collect witness statements, keep records of your doctor visits and how many miles you traveled, keep a journal of how your injury is affecting your daily life, and research workers compensation and disability laws to know your rights. Workers compensation is designed to reimburse you for medical expenses, time away from the job during recovery, and wage replacement if you are no longer able to perform your skill due to the injury. If you are unsure about whether you qualify for workers compensation, talk to an attorney right away who will be able to research your case and help you through the process. Construction accidents may be frightening, but qualifying for workers compensation doesn’t have to be.