Most Frequent Construction Injuries on New Jersey Job Sites
Workplace injuries can occur in any environment or location. There are nearly four million nonfatal work injuries in the United States every year, and they happened across all industries, locations, and level of severity. Even employees who work in office buildings and spend most of the workday at a desk are susceptible to repetitive motion injuries, trips, falls, and electric shock.
One industry with an inordinate number of injuries is construction. Construction workers in New Jersey are exposed to some obvious, and serious, risks. Job sites require the use of heavy equipment and machinery. Employees must manage working from heights and using ladders. Heavy, bulky objects and materials must be transported, often through human labor.
These risks, and others place construction sites squarely at the top of many reports that look at dangerous work environments.
What Is Being Done to Prevent Construction Injuries?
In New Jersey, state and federal regulations and recommendations try to address the safety concerns on construction sites. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) releases standards for construction sites across the country. There are best practices, requirements to wear personal protection equipment, and strict company polices.
Accidents still happen in the state. These can occur because of a failure to follow proper procedure, mishandling of materials, inappropriate operation of equipment, lack of training, and employee fatigue – just as examples. The most common injuries are serious, and construction still has more employee deaths than any other industry. One in five employee deaths in 2015 were on construction sites. What are the most common injuries and how can workers mitigate these risks?
Burns, Electrocution, & Electric Shock
Burns, electrocution, and shocks are some of the most common and serious injuries that happen on construction sites. These injuries can impair an individual’s ability to work for a long time and even permanently. Often, construction workers who are burned or electrocuted require significant medical care. Plus, the possibility of fire, explosion, chemical burns, and electrical burns also mean the possibility of death.
There are a number of hazards that cause these injuries. Live wires, mishandling of welding equipment, and unsafe employee practices all result in serious burns or electrocution. Defective fuel lines or exposed fuel tanks can cause serious explosions, and the misuse of dangerous chemicals results in chemicals burns in New Jersey each year.
Avoiding burns, electrocution, and electrical shocks begins with proper training. Only workers who have the requisite training and experience should handle live wires, dangerous chemicals, and similar hazards.
Broken Bones, Neck, Brain & Back Injuries from Falls
Every year in New Jersey construction workers are injured when they slip or fall on building, scaffolding, ladders, and other equipment at a height. Construction companies that work from scaffolding or ladders are required to provide specific OSHA training on this aspect of the work environment. However, falls from scaffolding and ladders happen all the time when companies and employees look for shortcuts or ignore unsafe conditions.
Falls from a height can be deadly, but more often a fall results in broken bones and serious injury to the neck, back or brain. Falls can leave you paralyzed, concussed, or unable to walk. These injuries are life altering.
To prevent falls from ladders, scaffolding, or other heights it is important to ensure the equipment is placed on solid ground and appropriately put together. Check all scaffolding before ascending and do not climb any structure that seems unsteady or shaky.
Construction Injuries from Falling Objects
A risk that is specific to the construction injury is falling objects and materials. Other professions see a number of trips, slips, and falls on stray paper, electrical cords, and spilled liquid, but on a construction site looking up is just as important as looking down.
On a job site in New Jersey, objects might be mishandled and dropped from a height. These can include heavy tools, such as a hammer, or bulky materials, such as concrete and wood. Gravity causes even light objects to be dangerous when dropped, and they can cause serious injury. Tape measurers and laser levels have caused head and back injuries on construction sites across the United States. Construction employees need to remain focused and alert when using tools and materials at a height, as they are responsible for the safety of individuals working on the ground.
There are other steps to prevent injury from falling objects, which include the following. Have a procedure for warning other workers when an object is dropped. Also, follow all procedures for lifting and moving a load of material, including securing straps and harnesses where needed. Keep the construction site clean and organized.
When Construction Injuries Occur
The severity of many construction injuries is overwhelming for the employee and his or her family. Luckily, New Jersey workers’ compensation is available to provide the benefits and compensation you need. Also, there is quality legal representation and advice available to you in New Jersey, if you want it.
If you have questions regarding first steps after a construction injury or how to handle a workers’ compensation claim in New Jersey, The Law Office of Albert J. Talone can help. We schedule a free, initial consultation with every potential client to discuss the circumstances of your case and see if we are the right law firm for your claim. Call us at (856)-234-4023.
The information in this blog post (“Post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this Post should be construed as legal advice from The Law Office of Albert J. Talone or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.