Understanding the true scope of construction injuries

Jan 24 2017

Earlier this month, our blog reported that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics had recently released its 2015 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, and how it once again illustrated how workers in certain sectors are at a significantly elevated risk of losing their lives owing to the duties they perform, conditions they work in and tools they use.

By way of example, consider the CFOI’s findings concerning the construction industry, which together with the extraction industry, saw 924 fatalities in 2015, marking the single highest level in seven years. Indeed, construction laborers, carpenters, electricians and plumbers were singled out as seeing exceptionally high fatality figures.

It stands to reason, of course, that if the fatality rates in the construction reason are reaching new highs, the rates of non-fatal injuries are following a similar trajectory.  Indeed, we touched on this idea just last week.

Given this reality, it’s perhaps important to take a brief look at some of the other causes of construction-related injuries to which workers are predisposed outside of the four well-known causes of electrocution, struck by objects, falls and becoming caught-in/between:

  • Heavy equipment: No matter how well-trained or how much experience a construction worker has operating a piece of heavy equipment — from forklifts and earth movers to nail guns and even dumpsters — malfunctions or accidents can still occur.
  • Trench work: Those working in a trench are at an elevated risk of being struck by falling loads, encountering hazardous/noxious atmospheres and, most significantly, being trapped by cave-ins.
  • Overexertion: While there is a tendency to attribute overexertion-related injuries (carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.) to office-type employment, construction workers who use certain types of equipment or perform certain types of repetitive motions are also prone to this trauma.

Construction workers who have suffered debilitating injuries while on-the-job have rights and options. As such, it’s imperative for them to consider speaking with a skilled legal professional who can help them fight to secure much-needed work comp benefits.