How Does a Construction Site Injury Differ From a Workplace Injury?
Every year many Americans are injured at work, but in some industries, the chances of being hurt are much greater than in others. Construction sites are a particularly dangerous work environment, meaning that construction accidents can result in more severe injuries than most workplace mishaps.
Common Accident on a Construction Site
Construction sites can be extremely hazardous places, and the possibility of construction site injury is remarkably high. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has identified the top four causes of construction fatalities are falling, being struck by an object, getting caught on or between something, and electrocution. However, not all injuries that occur in the construction industry are fatal.
Construction Sites Are One of the Most Dangerous Places to Work
The occupations with the highest fatality and construction site injury rates in the US tend to be those where the worker is outdoors or not in an office. Construction jobs, such as general contractors, roofers, and electricians, are frequently named as one of the riskiest.
In fact, in 2018, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the construction and extraction occupational group had the second-highest number of workplace fatalities in Michigan. This highlights that, unlike many other occupations, people who work on construction sites are not only more likely to get injured, but those construction injuries are more likely to be fatal.
Common Workplace Injuries
Although construction sites are one of the more dangerous places to work, workplace accidents can occur anywhere. Anyone from farmers, teachers, office workers, and security guards can get injured at work. The most common workplace accidents and injuries are:
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Repetitive strain injury
- Cuts and lacerations
- Being hit by falling objects
- Exposure to toxic products
- Hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises
- Physical assault
In Michigan, workers’ compensation is a mandatory insurance that all employers with more than three employees must have. The insurance ensures financial assistance to workers who are injured at work and can cover expenses such as medical bills and lost wages. Employees generally receive workers’ compensation benefits quickly and don’t have to go through lengthy court cases.
While workers’ compensation protects the employee, there is a catch. To benefit from workers’ comp, you’ll need to relinquish your right to sue your employer because their action (or inaction) directly caused your injuries. This is unfortunate because not all types of damages are covered by workers’ compensation, including pain and suffering.
However, there are some circumstances employees may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit, for instance:
- If one of the parties responsible for the accident is not the employer. In the case of an injured construction worker, that may be a manufacturer of a faulty piece of protective equipment.
- The injury is caused by the employer’s gross negligence, their deliberate and reckless disregard for the employee’s safety.
- The employer doesn’t have sufficient workers’ compensation coverage.
Members of the Public Injured on Construction Sites
Construction workers are not the only people that can be injured due to a construction accident. Members of the public can also be hurt by objects falling from scaffolding or trip on the site.
Workers’ compensation does not cover private citizens so, if the accident occurred due to negligence, they will be able to make a personal injury claim against the liable party, which could be the contractor, the construction company, or the employee. To win their claim, the citizen must prove that the defendant (the person/people responsible for the accident) owed them a legal duty, that they breached that duty, and that that breach of duty directly led to the sustained injury.
Whatever the industry, from construction to retail, employers are responsible for providing their employees with a safe workplace that complies with OSHA regulations. Construction workers, like others who work in dangerous industries, face the prospect of serious construction site injury daily.
If you or your loved ones are unfortunate enough to get injured at work, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., our talented legal team prioritize your needs and foster strong attorney-client relationships.
For more information or to arrange a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys, call our law firm on (866) 642-4529.