Construction job sites are dangerous places to be for the public and workers alike. Every year, approximately 1,000 workers die on construction sites across the country. Numerous others are injured in a variety of accidents that leave them with harm that can take weeks, months, or longer to heal.
Employers must provide their employees with appropriate safety equipment and training to mitigate the risk of accidents. Additionally, those in charge of a construction project must take reasonable steps to protect passersby from harm. When these duties are not honored, injuries or fatal accidents can occur.
Both workers at job sites and those who pass by construction zones should be on guard against the following common injuries:
Falls, both from heights and those due to slips and trips, are a common occurrence on construction sites. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries that result in hospitalizations.
The consequences of these injuries can range from headaches and dizziness to memory loss, cognitive impairment, and permanent behavioral changes.
Back injuries on construction sites can result from more than just falls, slips, and trips. Overexertion from carrying heavy loads and repeatedly bending over and standing up can all put stress on the back.
Herniated discs and damage to the spinal cord can result in pain and weakness that can prevent you from returning to your job or limit your range of motion. Severe spinal cord injuries can lead to paralysis.
Heavy machinery and power tools abound at most construction sites. Body parts like fingers, hands, arms, and legs can become caught in gears and moving parts. When this happens, the affected limb can sustain catastrophic damage and may be amputated. In extreme cases, a person can be crushed and killed.
Failing to guard against machinery-related injuries like crushing injuries was one of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) ten most frequently violated workplace standards in fiscal year 2022.
Any construction project that involves installing or moving electrical lines can expose workers and those nearby to the risk of electrocution. Power tools can also pose an electrocution hazard if connected to damaged or inadequate extension cords.
Contact with a power line or power source can cause second- and third-degree burns. These serious injuries often require skin grafts and are prone to infections.
The construction site is a noisy environment. Exposure to hours of noise associated with power tools and heavy equipment can cause hearing damage and eventually, hearing loss.
The American Society of Safety Professionals estimates that approximately 14 percent of construction workers have hearing difficulty. While not a life-threatening condition, hearing loss can affect your quality of life and can impact your ability to remain safe on the job.
Those who work on construction sites or who must travel near them should be aware of these and other potential dangers. While those in charge of the site should ensure work is performed safely, they do not always do so. Be aware of your surroundings and report unsafe conditions to a supervisor or foreman.
If you do sustain an injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Speak to an experienced Missouri construction accident lawyer about your options as soon as possible.