Construction accidents in Indiana are not uncommon. There are several accidents that can occur on a construction site – some preventable. If you’re a construction worker and have been injured on the job, you may be entitled to compensation.
What are The Most Common Causes of Construction Accidents?
OSHA – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – has identified the four leading causes of accidents and injuries in the construction industry:
- Being struck by flying or falling object
- Being caught-in or caught-between machinery, structures, or other items
- Electrical injuries
Construction workers are also at risk for exposure to toxic substances including toxic molds.
Are Falls Preventable on Construction Sites?
Construction site falls account for about one-third of all construction-related injuries and fatalities. Construction workers may sustain severe injuries by falling after slipping on debris, tripping over misplaced equipment, or falling from ladders or scaffolds.
Construction site falls are commonly caused by a lack of safety training or an employer’s failure to keep a worksite as safe as reasonably possible. Guard rails and harnesses must be used, and ladders and scaffolding must be replaced if they are aged, defective, or unsafe in any way.
When there’s little to no protection against falls at a construction site, the can be tragic. Falls can happen when a worker steps backwards or sideways without looking or uses a stairwell that lacks guardrails.
The Dangers of Flying and Falling Objects
Falling objects – nails, tools, and heavier equipment – are the second-leading cause of construction-related deaths and a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries among construction workers. Wherever there’s gravity, falling objects pose a genuine hazard.
Debris nets can reduce or even eliminate injuries caused by falling objects. Employers must supply hard hats, and construction workers must wear them at all times – no exceptions. Workers must also take responsibility for wearing the proper footwear and other appropriate safety gear.
Lanyards and wristbands, cinch attachments, D-rings, and self-vulcanizing tape can keep tools from falling without impairing a worker’s ability to use the tool effectively. Tools that weigh more than five pounds must be tied to a structure or to an anchor point.
What are ‘Caught-In’ and ‘Caught-Between’ Accidents?
Caught-in and caught-between accidents at construction sites occur when workers are crushed, or when they are caught in or between machinery, equipment, walls, other barriers, other objects. It is not uncommon for construction workers to find themselves caught in or between hazards.
Caught-in and caught-between accidents can cause catastrophic injuries including spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, nerve and muscle damage, paralysis, and limb injuries requiring amputations.
Electrical Hazards on Construction Sites
Electrical injuries can occur at construction sites when a worker has contact, directly or indirectly, with live electrical equipment or wiring including junction boxes, control panels, light fixtures, transformers, and circuit breakers.
Construction workers are also at risk from power lines and from defective equipment including extension cords, power tools, and portable lights. Construction workers should never allow any electrical equipment to come in contact with standing or accumulated water.
If you are a construction worker, it is important to always shut down and lock or tag out electrical parts or circuits that you work on or near. Wear the appropriate personal safety equipment and use the right tools whenever working within the vicinity of live electricity.
Additional Risks and Hazards
Harmful dust, gases, and fumes are commonly found on construction sites. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that every year, about two thousand U.S. construction workers report lung and skin diseases that are linked to on-the-job exposure to toxic chemicals.
Construction workers who are exposed to high levels of sawdust, drywall dust, and silica dust may experience severe health problems. Fine dust particles can penetrate the lungs, and ultra-fine particles can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream.
Toxic mold is also common on construction sites. Long-term toxic mold exposure can lead to temporary or even permanent disability, severe dysfunction of the immune system, and may even impair the functioning of the brain.
What are a Construction Worker’s Legal Rights?
Employers in Indiana are obligated to keep construction sites “reasonably” safe. If you’re injured at a construction site, you may be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
In some cases, if a party other than your employer played any role in the accident that injured you, you may also qualify to file a third-party personal injury claim. As a construction worker in the state of Indiana, your legal rights include:
- reasonably safe and hazard-free construction site conditions
- information and training about hazards at the site and dealing safely with those hazards
- the right to submit a request to OSHA for a construction site safety inspection
- the right to report a safety violation or consult a lawyer without fear of retaliation
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
If you are injured while working on a construction site in Indiana, have an experienced Evansville personal injury attorney help you complete and file your claim for workers’ comp benefits. Your attorney will ensure that no mistakes or misunderstandings delay your payments.
Your attorney will also determine if you qualify to file a third-party personal injury claim. If you do, your attorney may negotiate privately for an acceptable settlement offer.
It is important to note, each case is different therefore each case may be handled differently by your attorney. For a no-cost, case evaluation, contact our legal team today.
When Should You Contact a Personal Injury Attorney?
Construction work is risky work, but construction workers have substantial legal protections including the right to be compensated for work-related injuries. Of course, compensation isn’t simply handed over, so you’ll need an attorney’s guidance and advice.
If you or a loved one have suffered a construction site accident, contact the legal team of personal injury attorneys at Tuley Law Office today.