Construction workers are at an elevated risk of sustaining injuries every time they go to work. There are countless hazards and risks on every type of site. Unfortunately, construction site accidents are common, and one of the most important things construction workers can do to protect themselves in the event of injury is to be sure they understand their rights and know what to do if and when an accident does happen on the job. Just as a complete understanding of the potential threats to your safety can help minimize your risks at work, understanding the workers’ compensation application process and pitfalls to avoid can help to protect your ability to collect workers’ compensation benefits if needed when something does go wrong. Knowledge and preparedness are the most effective ways to deter and minimize the severity of the damages from worksite accidents. Understanding your rights to collect workers’ compensation benefits when the incidents occur is also crucial. Consider calling a knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer at Steelman Gaunt Crowley at (573) 341-8336 for answers to questions about what to do after a construction site accident.
Mistakes To Avoid After a Construction Accident
While there are many possible missteps, seven of the most significant mistakes for construction workers to avoid after an accident include the following:
- Failing to seek immediate medical advice and treatment from a healthcare professional
- Neglecting to report the accident to the construction company they work for immediately or within the required time frame
- Forgetting to gather evidence to document the patient treatment plan and other injury and recovery details
- Accepting a settlement quickly from the insurance agency without knowing their rights or all the possible options
- Communicating, including giving recorded or written statements, or signing a release with the insurance company without understanding their legal rights or seeking legal advice
- Failing to collect proof of how the accident happened; examples of this type of information-gathering include collecting witness statements at the construction site accident scene and keeping notes about where, why, and how the incident occurred
- Failing to file a workers’ compensation claim and comply with Missouri regulations, such as meeting the deadline for standard time requirements
The Big Four Construction Hazards
Construction sites present countless hazards, and understanding both how to avoid them and what to do when an accident occurs is crucial. According to the construction industry safety guidance provided by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration OSHA, there are four primary construction industry hazards workers need to understand and prevent.
Construction Site Falls
Falls are a significant cause of construction site accidents leading to death. Employers have a legal obligation to provide safe working environments to workers, including supplying safety devices and equipment. Companies operating in the construction industry can reduce the frequency of construction site accidents and protect workers by doing the following:
- Providing personal fall systems, also called harnesses
- Installing safety nets
- Ensuring there are always guardrails on platforms and scaffolding
- Ensuring all workers wear adequate safety gear at all times
Struck-by accidents are another severe risk for those in the construction industry. A struck-by accident is one in which a worker is struck by an object and injured. Falling, swinging, and flying objects can all have devastating consequences. A seasoned workers’ compensation attorney at Steelman Gaunt Crowley may be able to explain your rights and help you collect benefits after a construction site accident.
The most effective way to prevent life-threatening or fatal injuries from falling objects is to ensure construction workers have and wear safety equipment at all times. The most common cause of struck-by accidents and injuries is powered and non-powered hand tools, debris and scraps, and building material. Preventative equipment such as hard hats, face shields, and safety glasses or goggles are essential for everyone who steps onto the work site.
Caught In Between Injuries
Caught in between accidents often leave workers with severe and life-altering injuries. The incidents happen when the workers get caught under or between pieces of heavy machinery and objects on the job site. Many workers who become victims of these accidents sustain life-threatening injuries leading to a permanent disability or, in the worst cases, death.
Shock and Electrocution
A construction site accident involving electric shock can be catastrophic with severe consequences. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, construction workers account for the most significant portion of shock and electrocution injuries in the United States each year.
The Most Common Construction Site Accident Injuries
Some of the most common injuries that construction workers sustain in worksite accidents include the following:
- Head, skull, and traumatic brain injuries
- Severe burn injuries, including scarring and disfigurement from electric shock
- Back, neck, and spinal cord injuries
- Crushing injuries, including severely broken bones and traumatic amputations
- Serious head, face, or eye injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety from trauma caused by the accident
Construction site accidents often leave workers with catastrophic injuries that can change the course of their lives. While there are many inherent risks and hazards on construction sites, however, plenty of information and regulations exist to protect workers in this industry. Construction companies and contractors must provide adequate and ongoing training and safety equipment to ensure that employees are protected while they work.
Construction Site Safety Dos and Don’ts
Adequate training, use of safety gear, awareness of surroundings at all times, and preventative measures, such as nets to break falls, are all crucial for construction sites. Some of the most critical things to avoid doing on worksites include the following:
- Never use heavy machinery or equipment without training
- Avoid hazardous areas where falling objects or electric shock is more likely
- Never enter a job site without wearing the appropriate safety gear
- Always avoid climbing, standing, or resting on incomplete stairs or platforms
Worksite order and cleanliness are another simple yet effective way to increase job site safety and prevent accidents and construction worker injuries.
Call a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today To Schedule a Consultation
Heavy equipment, unfinished electrical wiring, high elevations, and many other hazards make construction sites extremely dangerous and can place the workers in harm’s way. Despite knowing the risks and effective ways to prevent them, accidents continue to occur because of negligence. Unfortunately, there is no shield or infallible method of ensuring you are never in an accident. However, the more you know about job site safety measures and practices, the better your chances are of avoiding accidents and injuries. The more you know about workers’ compensation regulations, timelines, and procedures, the better you will understand what not to do after a worksite accident in order to avoid bureaucratic hazards, too. Consider meeting with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer at Steelman Gaunt Crowley by calling (573) 341-8336 to review your rights and discuss your individual case needs after a construction site accident.