Every year in Massachusetts, thousands of construction workers are injured. From breaking a bone to losing an appendage — or worse -, the industry is one where the risk for injury and illness is high. And while there are employers who are actively trying to keep their workers safe through training and proper equipment, the simple truth is that accidents can and still do happen. Even the most highly skilled construction worker, working for a very safety-minded company, can still end up severely injured on the job.
So just what makes the construction industry so dangerous?
Risk No. 1: Falls
According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, in terms of work-related accidents, falls continue to be the leading cause of death for construction workers.
Working on roofs, standing on ladders and scaffolding and just being at tall heights puts construction workers at risk for falling.
Risk No. 2: Dangerous tools
The very nature of the industry means construction workers are using inherently dangerous tools – such as nail guns, saws and drills. All it takes is for one wrong cut or the misfiring of a tool to lead to serious injury, including amputation.
While a slip of the hand or user error does cause a number of these accidents, there are also other cases where the tool itself is defective in some way. Maybe it is used and worn out and should have been replaced sooner? Or maybe the tool itself is just defective? Either way, in some cases these types of accidents can end up leading to third party personal injury claims.
Risk No. 3: Occupational illness
Construction workers often work with dangerous chemicals and materials. For example, a construction worker could end up exposed to asbestos materials while renovating an old home. Or, during the demolition of a home, a worker can be exposed to lead dust from old pipes and paint. Exposure to these types of toxins can result in serious illness. Lead exposure can lead to neurological impairment, as well as kidney disease and anemia, for example, while mesothelioma is associated with asbestos exposure.
No matter what causes an injury or illness – whether it’s a lack of safety equipment, repeated exposure to a dangerous toxin or just an accident – fault does not need to be assigned in order to file for and receive workers’ compensation.