Home » Archive by category "Workplace Injury"

Category Archives: Workplace Injury

Construction workers are subject to all kinds of hazards on the job, not the least of which is toxic substance exposure. The toxic substance need not be exotic and it is not limited to anyone area; in the US 18% of all construction workers suffer to some degree to toxic substance exposure. Although exposure is usually short-term and intermittent because construction workers usually move from job site to job site, it is likely to recur frequently. This is because many of the toxic substances encountered onsite are endemic in a particular construction task such as bricklaying, welding and demolition.

The health consequences are varied, depending on the toxic substance and the amount of exposure. Toxic substance exposure is usually through inhalation of airborne fumes, mists, gases, dusts and vapors, but it can also be through skin contact or through ingestion. Some of the toxic substances one is likely to encounter in a construction site are glues, dry cement, organic solvents and heavy metals in soldering iron. According to the website of New York-based law firm Hach & Rose, LLP, many construction workers are not even aware that they have been exposed to toxic substances until much later when the symptoms appear. In this sort of situation, discussing your case with a construction accident attorney in your area may be a wise legal decision.

The most linked health issues to the construction industry due to toxic substance exposure include:

  • Asbestosis
  • Bronchitis
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Lead poisoning
  • Lung cancer
  • Neurologic disorders
  • Silicosis

The Code of Federal Regulations tackles the problem of toxic substance exposure under 29 CFR 1926.55 and 29 CFR 1926 Subpart Z, but no amount of legislation can prevent construction workers from getting exposed to harmful substances at work if the employer or construction site manager chooses to ignore the regulations. As a result, many construction workers end up with lifelong debilitating health problems and financial difficulties through no fault of their own.

If you or someone close to you incurred health problems due to toxic substance exposure while at a construction site, you could be eligible for a personal injury suit. Consult with a lawyer with a good track record in handling toxic substance exposure cases in the area.

Working at heights is common in construction, and there is a good chance of being involved in construction accidents even under the best of conditions. In most cases, some type of scaffolding is used to accomplish the necessary tasks, and that fact that it is a temporary structure that requires assembly and disassembly increases the chances of construction accidents.

Scaffolding has been used since ancient times to work at heights, and modern technology has made it cheaper, safer and easier to use. However, just like with any other construction equipment, it needs to be maintained and used properly so that it will not cause construction accidents. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued several regulations regarding the types, sizes and conditions of materials used in scaffolding to ensure that it exceeds the load-bearing requirements of its use as well as the proper assembly and disassembly to maximize the stability of these essential structures.

Not surprisingly, many of the construction accidents involving scaffolding are due to its defective condition, incorrect assembly or disassembly, or improper use. These are all indications of the lack of supervision onsite as well as the lack of training of workers in the use of scaffolding in general. An article from the website of Hach & Rose, LLP, experienced New York construction accident lawyers, it is crucial that scaffolding must be carefully assembled because workers literally place their lives on the line every time they climb up on one. The failure of construction management to provide these necessary aspects of scaffolding use may be construed as a breach in the duty of care that employers or contractors owe their workers, and may be actionable.

Scaffolding-related construction accidents include slips and falls, collapse, falling objects, and electrocution. Injuries sustained in this type of construction accidents may be serious, or even fatal. Construction workers who are injured or killed because of the negligence of their employers deserve to get adequate compensation for the physical, mental, emotional and financial damage that result. A construction accident lawyer with the right kind of expertise should be retained to handle any case that may be filed against a negligent employer in construction.

A comparison of the number of construction accidents in New York for 2011 and 2012 show a sharp rise by 31%. This is attributed to the growing tendency of construction companies to ignore safety regulations because they have no motivation to improve working conditions. The concerned government agencies have yet to impose sanctions that would effectively discourage unsafe practices.

Construction accidents tend to result in serious injuries if not death. As an occupation, construction workers buy into a certain amount of risk because they often work with heavy equipment, power tools and inherently unsafe environments such as unfinished buildings, demolition sites, and working at heights. However, there is no excuse to exacerbate these risks by ignoring basic safety rules such as ensuring equipment are properly maintained, providing safety gear, and seeing to it that the site is not in danger of collapse.

According to the website of Hach & Rose, LLP, the most common construction accidents include:

  • Falling materials and equipment
  • Unsafe work sites
  • Defective scaffolding
  • Heavy construction vehicle accidents
  • Crane collapse

Many of these construction accidents are preventable with a minimum of safety precautions. Recent construction accidents in New York resulted from ignoring basic safety rules, such as preventing workers from going to a site which is clearly in danger of collapsing, or inspecting cranes to see that cables are not frayed or otherwise unsafe to operate.

Victims of construction accidents that occurred because of negligence may have legal recourse to help them recover from the hardship caused by serious injuries or the loss sustained by the family of a worker who dies unexpectedly. It is important to get competent legal representation in New York with the experience and knowledge to bring off a personal injury or wrongful death claim for construction accidents successfully. It can mean the difference between getting the compensation deserved and being left holding the bag.

According to an annual report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace deaths in the United States last year decreased overall, though some states and industries saw troubling increases. In particular, authorities are concerned about fatal accidents in the oil and gas industry, which reached a record high in 2012.

Last year, 4,383 workers died in accidents at their work sites, a significant decrease from 2011’s 4,693. While the national figures are a testament to most states making advances in workplace safety, they don’t tell the whole story. In Texas, 531 deaths occurred in 2012 compared with only 433 in 2011, a phenomenon that occurred in several other states.

Nationwide, oil and gas industries saw a substantial 23 percent jump in workplace fatalities to 138, an increase experts associate with the recent boom in natural gas extraction. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez called the deaths “unacceptable.”

“We can and must do better,” Perez said.

The construction industry, which typically sees numerous workplace fatalities each year, also got low marks for safety. 775 construction workers died in 2012, a five percent increase that came after a five-year period of safety gains. Construction accidents have a higher potential to be fatal because of the mechanical hazards present at work sites such as heavy machinery and electricity. Construction tallied the most fatalities in several states, including Texas and Wyoming.

In response to the poor safety ratings in the construction and oil and gas industries, the Occupational Safety Hazard Administration has created educational initiatives and plans to conduct oil and gas industry safety checks throughout the next year.

“No worker should lose their life for a paycheck,” Perez said.