Last updated on November 24th, 2017
The construction or building industry is notoriously dangerous. Heights, heavy machinery and other hazardous obstacles present unique risks that are not seen in most other workplaces. While some of the hazards are obvious and easy to spot, others are less so. Familiarising yourself with common construction injuries can help you take proper precautionary measures and reduce the risk of injury, whether you work on a construction or building site or have to walk past one on your way to work.
These are some of the more common injuries that occur at or near building sites:
Falls are the single most common cause of death among construction workers. Construction work often involves working at great heights. Falling from a crane, scaffolding, ladder or from the top floor of tall buildings are unfortunately quite common on building sites.
Basic safety precautions can minimise or even prevent the majority of the injuries associated with falls, but sometimes, construction companies do not always provide workers with adequate safety equipment or protective gear.
While a slip and fall from stray material and tools left on the floor or from the uneven flooring may result in a relatively minor bruise, falls from a height can result in more serious injuries such as concussions, fractures, paralysis or even death.
Falling Objects And Debris
Tools can slip out of workers’ hands and hit anyone working below on the ground or even on lower floors. Building materials and debris falling from heights are common occurrences at construction sites.
When tools, building materials and debris fall from a great height, they can become dangerous projectiles, irrespective of how small the item may be. These falling objects can cause severe head, upper body and spinal injuries.
All construction sites are required to have catch platforms to safeguard workers and passing pedestrians, but these are sometimes poorly designed and constructed or altered by other workers, doing little or nothing to prevent injury to those below. Hardhats, which all construction workers are mandatorily required to wear, offer little protection against larger falling objects. Traumatic brain injuries are common on construction sites and usually these are caused due to objects falling from a height.
Getting Caught In-Between Heavy Objects
Construction sites are filled with an assortment of heavy vehicles and materials, power machinery and other large, heavy materials. The smallest miscalculation or distraction while operating any large equipment can result in serious injuries to anybody in the vicinity. Construction workers can get caught in between immovable objects such as large blocks of concrete or they can be struck by power machinery.
Supervisors or managers on building sites are responsible for making sure that all workers are out of the way and the area is clear before performing tasks that can cause these kinds of injuries. Not enough supervisory staff or negligence on the part of the site supervisor may result in dangerous tasks going unsupervised, which could lead to all kinds of serious accidents.
Equipment And Machinery Related Accidents
Heavy machinery and power equipment are commonly tools of the trade in the construction industry. Forklifts, loaders, bulldozers, cranes and trucks are just a few of the several different types of heavy machinery used at building sites every day. The sheer size and power of these machines makes them especially dangerous.
A dumpster that tips over accidentally, a nail gun that misfires, a crane that fails to grip a heavy load tightly or a forklift that swings too far – a small fault in the mechanism of any equipment can inflict serious injury to the operator or anyone standing or working in the vicinity.
All equipment and machinery that is used on construction sites are supposed to be maintained and checked regularly and must pass the vigilant inspection and quality checks. If you are injured because of faulty machinery on the site, you can claim compensation for your injuries under the product liability clause.
By their very nature, constructions sites are always in a state of incompletion. Electrical work forms a large part of any construction project and unfinished electrical systems and exposed electrical lines and wires can be strewn all over the place. With so many workers moving around in the vicinity of the exposed wiring and power lines, the risk of electrocution can be high.
The construction company and the site manager are together responsible for ensuring that the site remains safe for all workers in every way, including protection from electrocution. Failure to provide a safe environment to work in can be grounds for filing a compensation claim.
Trenches are often necessary on construction sites. If a trench collapses while a worker is working inside, they could get hit by the object that caused the trench to collapse. In more severe cases, they may get buried under the mud of the collapsed trench.
Fires And Explosions
Half-completed piping and electrical systems can sometimes spark off fires and explosions, resulting in serious burns and other injuries to those working nearby.
Overexertion And Heat Stroke Or Hypothermia
Working on a construction site can be physically demanding. Moreover, work is rarely stopped because of bad weather. Workers perform exhausting manual work through the day in all kinds of weather. Working in the heat of the sun can result in overexertion and heat stroke, leading to heart, brain or kidney damage. In severe cases it can even result in death. In the winter, workers are at risk of hypothermia or frostbite that if severe enough could result in the loss of fingers, toes and even parts of the face.
The construction company is responsible for providing all their workers with reasonable adequate protection against weather conditions, by way of proper clothing as well as regular breaks.
All building site workers are entitled to claim compensation for their injuries if the accident was caused by somebody else’s negligence or error. Getting in touch with a personal injury solicitor is the first step towards filing a successful claim.
If you think you may have a case to claim compensation for a construction or building site injury the information provided here may help further.