Construction sites are pretty dangerous places – and although most good employers are careful about minimizing the hazards their employees are subjected to, accidents still happen.
Sometimes those accidents are due to the employer’s negligence; in other cases, they’re due to another employee’s, a visitor’s, or someone else’s negligence entirely. In Texas, the latest data available says that the average construction accident results in the injured party taking at least two weeks off work to recover – and many result in 31 or more sick days.
So what are the most common construction accident injuries in Texas, and what should you do if you’ve suffered from any of them?
Here’s what you need to know.
Common Construction Accident Injuries in Texas
Some of the most common construction accident injuries that go through Texas hospitals each year include:
- Falls from scaffoldings
- Burns from fires, explosions or chemicals
- Crush injuries from building collapses and equipment accidents
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
Let’s take a deeper look at each of these.
Falls From Scaffoldings
A lot of construction sites require scaffoldings, which are built on-site and are supposed to meet certain specifications. Across the country, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that about 2.3 million workers get on scaffoldings each year – and if a scaffolding isn’t built the right way, whomever is on it is in serious danger. Scaffoldings can pose hazards other than falls, too, such as materials falling off the scaffolding and onto workers below.
Burns From Fires, Explosions or Chemicals
Many construction sites have electrical wires, gas lines, hot water pipes and other potentially hazardous conditions – and some even deal in harsh chemicals that can cause severe burns. Thermal injuries are the most common; they’re burns from electricity, steam, hot water, fire and flammable materials, but chemical injuries aren’t too far behind. The burns a construction worker may sustain can be extreme – they can result in serious and irreparable tissue damage.
Crush Injuries From Building Collapses and Equipment Accidents
Crushing injuries can be catastrophic, resulting in the loss of a limb or even the loss of a life. Most commonly, crush injuries occur when construction vehicles run over workers, falling objects land on people, trenches collapse or people become caught in machinery. These types of injuries can cause severe tissue damage, broken bones, paralysis and death, and infections are common. So is compartment syndrome, a complication that often leads to tissue death and results in amputation.
Electrocution is a serious hazard on construction sites, and it’s so common that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration calls it one of the “Fatal Four” – four main safety hazards that account for most construction worker deaths on job sites across the U.S. (The other three are falls, being hit by machines and vehicles, and being caught in or between pieces of machinery.) A person can die from as little as 50 to 100 milliamperes of electrical current – and that’s far less than what a 120-volt circuit carries.
Exposure to Toxic Chemicals
Chemicals are everywhere on construction sites, from cleaning supplies to chemical solvents that can cause serious burns to skin and lungs. These chemical hazards can create long-term health problems, and some can even be life-threatening. In many cases, employers are required to display warning signs when hazardous chemicals are in use, and they’re supposed to train workers on the proper use of personal protective equipment, or PPE; however, that doesn’t always happen, and some workers are at risk without even realizing it.
What to Do if You’re Injured on a Construction Site
If you’re injured on a construction site, even if you think your injuries are minimal, you need to document them immediately. Tell a supervisor, or have someone else tell a supervisor for you, and write down everything that happened leading up to the accident if you’re able to do so.
Seek medical attention as soon as you can, and get copies of all your medical treatment records.
Many workplace construction accidents are covered by worker’s compensation, but some aren’t – and it may eventually become necessary for you to sue your employer for financial compensation that helps make up for lost wages, pain and suffering, and your medical bills (past, present and future).
Getting all the correct paperwork and steps in order isn’t always easy to best optimize the financial return you deserve. Our team is familiar with the process and can handle the complicated steps for you while you take time to heal. Contact a J. Alex Law team member today and we’ll come out to your home or the hospital.