Our Injured at Work series highlights the fields with the highest risk of injuries in the workplace. Do you have an industry in mind that you would like us to cover? If so, message us on Facebook here.
Working in construction can be a rewarding and fulfilling job as construction workers help create infrastructure that connects our towns and cities as well as build up our community. That said, construction injuries happen and often — it’s definitely known as a risk of the job. According to the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) there are, on average, 14 deaths a day in the construction field. One in five workplace deaths occurred amongst construction workers in 2017. Overall, construction deaths are down from 38 a day in 1970 to 14 a day in 2017.
In construction there are four injuries that are the most common, and if eliminated, would result in 582 workers’ lives saved. These four types of injuries are known in the construction industry as the “Fatal Four”.
The Fatal Four
- Falls — 381 deaths annually or 39.2%; Falls are common occurrences in the construction field. Cranes and ladders are used at most building construction sites and sometimes inspections can miss faults or equipment can be placed on unstable surfaces. It is also not uncommon for safety features put in place to save lives to fail.
- Struck by Object — 80 deaths annually or 8.2%; If it’s not a fall that causes injury, it’s equipment/material falling or slipping out of a worker or machine’s grasp. Injuries related to improperly secured material occurs when there is a lack of management or too many inexperienced construction workers on site. Getting struck by an object can also happen when construction project deadlines are rushed. Aside from deaths, this is a common cause of concussions, broken bones and many other horrifying injuries.
- Electrocutions — 71 deaths annually or 7.3%; Construction sites often have a lot of exposed wiring and sometimes that wiring is mishandled or placed near flammable or chargeable liquids and materials. If construction workers are not properly trained to handle exposed electricity and wiring, it can result in: cardiac arrest; muscle, nerve or tissue damage; burns; seizures etc.
- Caught-in-Between — 50 deaths annually or 5.1%; Working alongside heavy machinery and hefty materials are a daily part of a construction workers job. Any incident relating to getting struck in between, crushed by or caught inside this equipment is considered a “caught-in-between” incident. Experience isn’t necessarily protection against risk of getting caught-in-between because less experienced or distracted construction workers can cause even the most skilled worker harm.
Virginia law requires that construction employers carry workers’ compensation insurance in the event of injury to their employees. This insurance provides an immediate remedy for workers injured on the job, but often the damages offered are limited. If construction firms in Virginia do not have proper workers’ compensation insurance in place, these firms can be charged up to $250 per day per employee that is not covered.
Other Common Construction Injuries
- Broken Bones (common)
- Eye injuries, vision impairment, blindness (less common)
- Back and Neck injuries as an immediate affect or over time (very common)
- Brian injuries, Head injuries or Concussions (very common)
- Illnesses due to Toxic Chemical Exposure (less common)
- Spinal Cord injuries resulting in paraplegia or quadriplegia (less common)
At the Parrish Law Firm our goal is to make sure that injured construction workers receive compensation that they deserve. If you have been injured on a construction site and have not received the compensation you deserve, contact us for a free consultation at (571) 229 – 1800 or here.