On the job injuries can happen anywhere and at any time, regardless of your occupation. While every job comes with certain risks specific to that particular field, there are some jobs which are obviously more dangerous than others. In terms of worker injuries, the construction industry is one of the highest in terms of the risks employees face.
At Gemma Law Associates, our construction accident lawyers know that construction worker injuries and accidents are common, and that these injuries can be severe and even fatal. A recent crane accident at a local university highlights some of the dangers construction workers face each day in the course of their jobs. W
hile putting themselves in potentially dangerous situations is all part of a day’s work for workers in the construction field, accidents on the job site can have severe ramifications in terms of these workers’ health and well-being, as well as their ability to provide for their loved ones.
Construction’s Fatal Four
A September 2015 crane accident at Bryant University caused a building to collapse and resulted in injuries to six construction field employees is just one of the latest in crane construction accidents to threaten workers. Though the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is still investigating, the report states that workers were injured in falls after an error on the part of the employee operating the crane.
A study by the Center for Construction Research and Training estimates that more than 20 construction workers die each year as the result of crane-related construction accidents alone in the U.S., while many more are injured in these types of accidents.
These types of falls are just one of what OSHA calls ‘construction’s fatal four’, four common types of construction related accidents that are blamed as being the cause of one out of every five worker deaths in the United States each year. They include:
- Falls: According to OSHA, falls are the number one cause of death in the construction industry today. Falls commonly occur as the result of faulty scaffolding, broken or unsteady ladders, worker errors, and inadequate equipment. Falls can result in spinal cord ruptures and fractures, head trauma, and internal injuries. Falling from even a short height can have lasting and severe consequences.
- Being struck by an object: Falling or flying debris and objects at construction sites is common, and severe brain trauma, bone fractures, muscle strains and back injuries can occur as a result. Making sure machine parts and construction materials are properly secured and anchored can help to reduce accidents, and wearing protective head gear can help prevent potentially disabling injuries.
- Electrocutions: For construction crews working on or near electrical wiring, there is a high risk for being electrocuted. Taking extra safety precautions such as turning off power sources, preventing spills, and making sure workers are grounded can help prevent worker fatalities and injuries.
- Being caught in or between objects: Working in and around heavy machinery, tools, vehicles, building materials and equipment is a daily part of working in the construction field. With a lack of audible or visible warning signs, it is easy for workers to become trapped or caught in between these objects and incur serious, often fatal injuries as a result. Having the appropriate warning lights and alarms to notify workers and increasing visibility in the workplace may help to prevent some of these types of accidents.
In addition to the ‘fatal four’, other common construction worker injuries include exposure to harmful chemicals and building products such as asbestos and lead, vehicle-related injuries, and fires or explosions.
For construction companies and supervisors, following OSHA safety recommendations for construction job sites, such as providing extra scaffolding and harnesses, eliminating faulty wiring and equipment, providing extra training for workers and ensuring routine maintenance of tools and machinery, could prevent over 500 worker deaths each year.
Your Options If You Have Sustained Work Injuries on a Construction Site
Workers who have been injured on the job may be eligible to get the help they need to recover from their injuries through the Rhode Island workers’ compensation program.
Operated through the Department of Labor and Training, the program acts as a form of insurance for injured workers. The types of workers’ compensation benefits you may be entitled to receive include the following:
- Medical expenses related to your injury;
- Reimbursement for transportation costs to and from doctor appointments;
- Compensation for lost wages as the result of your injury;
- Physical and vocational rehabilitative services;
- Partial or total disability payments and compensation; and
- Temporary and permanent monthly disability benefits.
In order to be eligible to receive workers’ compensation, you must have been injured in the course of your employment. While you can still receive benefits even if you were at fault for your injury, workers’ compensation will deny your claim if you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs when the injury occurred, or if your actions that resulted in your injury violated company policies or safety rules.
If you are injured on the job, you must notify your employer immediately of your injury, seek medical help, and follow all of your doctor’s instructions in terms of caring for your injury.
In the event that your injury was the result of reckless or negligent conduct on the part of the construction site owner, another contractor on the job site, or even as the result of defective parts, tools, or supplies, you may choose to file a lawsuit, or third-party liability claim, for damages.
Under Rhode Island law, you may file a claim for damages against the negligent party who was responsible for your injury, which could, in fact, involve the manufacturer of a defective product that caused you harm.
By filing a lawsuit for damages, you could request compensation be awarded for your injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You may also be entitled to punitive damages, which is a dollar amount significant enough to punish the offending party for their negligent behavior and to discourage others from engaging in similar behavior.
Contact an Experienced Rhode Island Construction Accident Lawyer for Help
If you have suffered an on-the-job injury or illness, contact our experienced Providence, Rhode Island workers’ compensation lawyers today. At Gemma Law Associates, we understand the devastating impact on the job injuries can have on your family, and our construction injury lawyers can help you decide which course of action is best for getting you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Get the aggressive legal representation you need to ensure you get the benefits you are entitled to. Call our Providence construction worker injury attorneys today to arrange a free consultation.