Workplace Injuries

For the year 2012, the reported number of workplace injuries reported by private industrial employers to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reached almost three million. Injuries due to accidents in the workplace are definitely preventable; but this requires the strict compliance of managers and employers with the federal safety standards enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the observance of company policies and guidelines by all employees.

From the (almost) 3 million reported cases of non-fatal injuries, 340,900 were sustained through strains, sprains or tears; 177,580 were injuries to the back; and, 219,630 were due to trips, slips and falls. Reported cases of fatal injuries covering both the private and government sectors numbered to 4,628.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the five top work-related injuries include:

  • Overexertion injuries, which are caused by lifting, pulling or carrying heavy materials.
  • Slipping/Tripping, which is fall on same level, can be caused by tripping obstacles on the floor or by a wet floor.
  • Falling from heights, or fall to lower level, happens when a person drops from an elevated area, such as a stairway, roof or ladder.
  • Bodily reaction, which happens when a person slips or trips without falling. The sudden twist of the body can cause great, prolonged pains.
  • Falling object, which is a very common incidence, especially in construction areas, has often affected not only workers but pedestrians too.

Back injuries, which may result from any of the causes listed above, are the number one complaint of employees that has also led to billions of dollars in compensation insurance claims. OSHA, therefore, works tirelessly in strictly implementing the safety and health standards in the workplace. The Administration also obliges all employers to observe these standards, while simultaneously requiring all employees to act responsibly in observing caution while in the performance of their work.

Though a worker, who gets injured on the job, can apply for the benefits provided by the Workers’ Compensation, Scudder & Hedrick, PLLC, explains in its website that such worker, under certain circumstances, also have the right to pursue further legal action against his/her employer or any other party that has liability for the accident and the resulting injury. This legal action will allow the injured worker to receive the compensation that he/she is (legally) entitled to receive.

Construction Injuries and Accidents

Construction site accident statistics for 2012 show an increase of fatalities in the private sector of 5% from 2011 (775 against 738). A majority of these fatalities (36%) were as a result of a fall, the leading cause historically of fatal and non-fatal injuries in the industry. Other top causes of construction injuries are struck by object (10%), electrocution (9%), and caught-in or between (2%). Just recently, a construction worker in Seattle was seriously injured by being struck by a grinder wheel and another one fell to his death two days before on the same construction site. If you have been injured on a construction work site, a construction accident lawyer may be able to help represent your case.

There has been steady improvement in these accident statistics, and fatalities are currently down 37% from that of 2006. Nevertheless, construction work is definitely a hazardous occupation. Workers are aware of this and most exercise reasonable caution when on the job, which can make a serious injury or death harder to believe and accept.

Most construction workers are young and fit and/or experienced, hardly expecting anything bad to happen to them. Serious injury or death from a construction site accident means the family is unprepared for the loss of income and huge medical bills that may ensue, not to mention the pain and suffering that would affect all involved. This can result in extreme financial hardship, made more difficult if worksite safety turns out to be an issue.

While injured construction workers can rely on making a claim with workers’ compensation insurance, it is not at all easy. Filing a personal injury claim would be even more difficult as negligence will have to be established. The claimant can get the best results by retaining the services of construction site accident lawyer, who will have the resources to put together a viable case to better ensure a successful workers’ comp or personal injury claim.