If you’ve ever driven your car, then chances are good that you’ve been held up in construction traffic. Roads need repaired, bridges maintained, building erected, gas lines laid and power lines run. All told, the only reason our world runs the way it does in the work done by construction workers. However, what do they get for this often thankless job? One of the most dangerous working environments in the world. But what are the dangers of working construction? There are more than you would think.
Slips and Falls
Slips and falls are a hazard in almost any workplace, but even more so during construction. During construction of new buildings, construction workers are walking across narrow steel beams, and the higher the building the more dangerous it can be due to high cross winds. Even with a safety harness, there is still a considerable amount of risk involved. Even if they’re working on the ground, they’re not necessarily safer. Construction workers also run the risk of falling into manholes, ditches and other hazards.
Anywhere there’s construction there is often a sign reading something to the effect of “Hardhat Zone.” Falling objects are a very real hazard and danger in a construction zone. Anything from falling tools and building materials, to debris from old structures. While a hard hat might help keep your head from being bruised from something small, it doesn’t do much for you if it’s bigger or heavier than say, a socket from a wrench. Additionally, the hard hat only protects the head, and does nothing if other parts of the body are struck.
Chemicals ranging from asbestos to chemical solvents are often necessary during the course of a construction job. Even when handled delicately, these chemicals can wreak havoc on the body. Splash back can cause chemical burns. Fumes and vapors can be particularly dangerous causing respiratory complications and even cancer.
Moving Vehicles and other Human Factors
One of the most dangerous aspects of being a construction worker is other people. An impatient commuter that decides speeding through a work zone is better than being late to work is more likely to hit a construction worker. Drivers who aren’t paying attention to new traffic patterns can carreen right into the middle of a work zone.
The Laws of Entropy
Every now and again, something happens beyond our control. While these, ultimately, catastrophic incidents are few and far between, that doesn’t mean that they don’t happen. A building can collapse in the wrong direction, or a support beam can fall before it’s properly secured. These incidents often have disastrous results for those working in the area at the time.
What Should You Do if You’re Hurt on the Job
As a construction worker, it’s important to understand the numerous hazards on the job site. While you do your best to protect yourself by wearing your safety harness, eye protection, hard hat, etc, sometimes the unexpected can happen. If you’re injured on the job, make sure you report the injury to your supervisor right away. Worker’s compensation is important as it means you can still collect money, even if you’re out of commission. However, if it’s not handled properly then you could find yourself out of luck and even out of a job after you recover. Consult with a personal injury attorney after the accident to make sure that you are being compensated fairly after a workplace incident.
Michael Schreyer is a personal injury attorney in Maryland and is a partner in the firm of Alpert Schreyer, LLC. He is an experienced personal injury attorney, serving the Maryland and Washington, DC area and providing information and advice on his law blog at dcmdlaw.com.
October 21, 2016