There is no industry that is more dangerous to its own workers than construction. No other single profession has more on-the-job injuries or deaths than construction workers, with more than 150,000 construction injuries across the United States last year. Here are just five of the most common reasons why construction is the most dangerous industry:
- High risk of falling
- The single greatest source of harm in all of construction comes from workers accidentally falling and injuring themselves. This is because construction workers often work on elevated platforms, where it is easy to trip and fall off. Workers are supposed to have fall protection, such as safety nets or personal arrest systems, which prevent them from suffering severe injuries. However, these safety measures are not always available or used appropriately, resulting in broken bones, concussions, and other severe injuries.
- Working around dangerous substances
- Many of the substances construction workers encounter on their site are incredibly dangerous when not handled properly. Some of these are used as part of construction itself, such as explosives used for demolition work. Other substances, such as poison gas, may instead be encountered while digging into the ground. Workers are supposed to be furnished with protective gear, such as goggles and masks, which can limit their exposure to toxic, caustic or flammable chemicals. However, even when they do have this protective gear, construction workers face the risk of burns and toxic exposure from these dangerous substances.
- Using heavy machinery
- Construction workers often use dangerous heavy machinery as part of their jobs, including forklifts, cement mixers, cranes, and wrecking balls, among others. These machines are able to lift, move and damage enormous weights, which is great unless the thing it is lifting, moving or damaging is a human being. Additionally, many of these machines have internal mechanisms that can crush or electrocute anyone who accidentally makes contact with them while they are operating. Securing heavy machinery and using safety mechanisms like tagout/lockout systems are important for preventing these kinds of injuries, but contractors and site owners do not always follow appropriate safety protocols, leading to injury.
- Working in unstable areas
- When people hear about cave-ins, they usually think of something that happens in tunnels or in the mountains out in the wilderness. However, cave-ins are a very real threat on some construction sites, especially during demolition or trenching work. The risk of a cave-in or collapse could also arise in buildings in poor repair, where damage to the foundation or structure could result in construction workers being buried by rubble. These sites are supposed to be inspected to ensure there is no risk of a cave-in or collapse, but sometimes they will not be handled appropriately, leading to a greater risk of workers being harmed.
- Contractors and site owners cutting corners
- Finally, one of the biggest reasons construction workers may get injured is from contractors or site owners choosing to cut corners to save time or money. This could mean not providing sufficient safety equipment, or circumventing safety mechanisms intended to prevent injury. It could also mean failing to perform legally required inspections of equipment and the site, allowing potentially dangerous problems to go unaddressed. Cutting corners may not always cause an injury, but it does mean injuries from other sources become much more likely.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury while working on a construction site, it’s important to get the legal representation you need to remedy the situation and get compensation for the harm you and your loved ones have suffered. The lawyers at Levine and Slavit, PLLC are experienced in representing New York City and Long Island residents in construction site accident cases. To schedule a free consultation, contact our New York City construction accident lawyers at (212) 687-2777 or for our Long Island construction accident lawyers call (516) 294-8282.