We’ve discussed in previous blogs the many hazards faced by individuals who work within the U.S. construction industry. It’s not surprising that construction is readily included among the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s list of most dangerous industries. During 2013 alone, OSHA reported that a total of 796 construction workers were fatally wounded on the job.
There are numerous factors that contribute to the dangerous working conditions construction workers face. The work is often very physical and requires that workers are able to lift and carry heavy materials. Additionally, to perform assigned work duties, workers must often scale ladders and work atop scaffolding. These types of physically demanding tasks require great strength, balance, agility and endurance.
Information provided by the workers’ compensation insurance provider Liberty Mutual, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Academy of Social Insurance details the top 10 causes of workplace injuries in the U.S. from 2012. Not surprisingly, all of the top injury causes relate to work situations construction workers routinely encounter.
Accounting for more than one-fourth of all workplace injuries, overexertion was cited as the most common cause of injuries among U.S. workers. Tasks such as lifting, carrying, holding and throwing were included as being those that may cause a worker to experience overexertion.
More than 15 percent of reported injuries involved falls on the same level and more than 8 percent involved falls to a lower level. OSHA reports that during 2013, nearly 37 percent of construction worker deaths were caused by falls. Slippery surfaces, construction materials, ladders and scaffolding all serve as construction site fall hazards.
Other causes of workplace injuries that were among the most commonly reported include being “struck by an object or equipment, being caught in or crushed by equipment or object and roadway incidents involving a motorized land vehicles,” all of which relate to the construction industry.
For construction workers, the physical and financial repercussions associated with a work injury are often significant. It’s important; therefore to take steps to recover the maximum amount of workers’ compensation one is owed. Additionally, in some cases, a third party may be responsible for contributing to an individual’s injury and legal action may be pursued.
Source: Insurance Journal, “Top 10 Causes of Workplace Injuries,” Jan. 16, 2015