Which Injuries Are Common Among Construction Workers?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that over 20% of workplace fatalities in the United States involve construction workers, and thousands of other individuals sustain some kind of injury that causes them to have to take off work. When pursuing a career in construction, it’s important to understand the high risk of injury and which injuries may be more likely.
Construction workers are susceptible to severe burns from a variety of sources. One common source is contact with electrical equipment or wiring. According to the National Safety Council, 44% of electrical fatalities in 2020 involved construction workers.
Another common type of burn comes from exposure to chemicals. Chemicals used in many construction projects, such as solvents, cleaners, and paint thinners, can cause serious skin damage if they come into contact with the skin.
Head and Neck Injuries
Although using personal protective equipment and safety protocols is often aimed at reducing the possibility of head and neck injuries, these result from a significant amount of construction accidents each year. One study even found that a construction worker sustaining one of these injuries contributes to a higher risk of work-related death.
One type of head and neck injury that is particularly common among construction workers is traumatic brain injury (TBI). If left untreated, a TBI can have potentially fatal consequences or cause lifelong damage that requires significant treatments and therapies.
Back and Spinal Cord Injuries
Back and spinal cord injuries often occur when a worker falls from a significant height (like on a platform or scaffolding), is struck by an object or vehicle, or even just by improper lifting of objects. According to the BLS, about 19% of nonfatal work injuries among construction workers from 2016-2020 were to the back and shoulders.
Spinal cord injuries remain one of the most devastating that construction workers sustain, as they are typically irreversible and require lengthy, costly treatments. They also come with long-term chronic pain, making it difficult to find or maintain other work.
Hand Injuries - Digit Loss, Broken Bones, Lacerations
Construction workers use their hands for various tasks, which puts them at risk for a number of different types of injuries. One common type of injury is digit (finger) loss. This can occur when a worker’s hand is caught in between two objects or crushed by heavy machinery.
Another common type of hand injury is broken bones. Construction workers are susceptible to this type of injury due to the nature of their work. They may also suffer from lacerations, which can be caused by sharp tools or materials.
Repetitive Stress Injuries
Repetitive stress injuries occur when workers perform the same task over and over again without taking breaks. This is extremely common in construction, as actions like lifting heavy objects, bending over/squatting, and using power tools for extended periods of time (long-term vibrations on hands) can cause wear and tear on the body.
One of the most common types of repetitive stress injuries is carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition happens when the nerves in the wrist become compressed from repeated motions. Symptoms include pain, numbness, and tingling in the hands and fingers.
Hearing or Vision Loss
Hearing and vision loss are unfortunately common on construction sites, especially when the proper safety protocols are not followed. Hearing loss can occur from exposure to loud noises, such as power tools and machinery, while vision loss can be caused by flying debris or chemicals getting into the eyes.
It’s important for construction workers to wear the proper safety gear, such as goggles and earplugs, to protect themselves from these types of injuries.
Louisville Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Construction workers are put at risk of injury every day, and when employers are not enforcing the appropriate safety protocols, it can lead to a more dangerous worksite. Our Louisville attorney ensures that construction workers obtain the compensation they are entitled to for injuries under the workers’ compensation system. Learn how we can help you today by calling (502) 822-2230.