Working a job in construction can be inherently dangerous. You may suffer minor injuries, such as small cuts and scrapes, on a regular basis. However, more serious injuries are more likely to occur on a construction site than, say, in an office job. If you suffer from one of these injuries, you could accrue medical expenses as well as lost wages.
Common Construction Accidents
The first step to avoiding an on-the-job injury is to learn what some of the common construction accidents are and what you should do if one befalls you.
1. Falling from Height
As part of your job, you may be required to work on roofs or scaffolding. Your employer is responsible for providing the equipment and supplies to ensure you can complete your job safely, as well as providing training for working on the relevant surface and with specific equipment.
Needless to say, follow safety precautions at all times because according to OSHA, falling from height is the leading cause of death in construction accidents. Likewise, falls are one of the leading causes of injury.
2. Getting Struck by an Object
The next leading cause of injury and death on construction sites is getting struck by an object. This hazard can be as simple as a ladder falling over and onto you or as damaging as getting struck by a piece of heavy equipment. The employer is responsible for providing personal protective equipment, including high-visibility jackets and hard hats.
Again, take the responsibility upon yourself to always wear your protective equipment no matter how hot or dusty the site may get. What’s more, be aware of your surroundings. Try not to position yourself between a piece of moving equipment and a stationary object. Likewise, keep vigilant about what’s going on around you.
3. Getting Burned in a Fire
Fire is a danger whether you’re at work or at home. However, many common building materials, such as wood, are highly flammable. You may also be required to work with flammable materials near flames, such as from a blow torch, or machines creating sparks. Your employer is responsible for making sure fire extinguishers are easily accessible and clearly marked.
As with working at great heights, you should be trained on the fire hazards presented at your job site. Also, make sure that you know what the fire emergency plan is, such as where the extinguishers are located or what your mode of exit is in the case of a fire.
Tips for Reporting an Accident
If you fall, get struck, or are burned, you obviously need to seek immediate medical attention. That said, if you get injured on the job, your medical bills should be covered by your employer, so you’ll need to keep detailed records of the following documentation:
- Date of medical visits
- Doctors’ names
If possible, take photographs of your injury and of the job site. Likewise, take down the contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
In the immediate aftermath of the injury, you may need emergency medical assistance. However, follow-up visits may need to be within the insurance network. Employers sometimes provide a list of doctors within their insurance network, so make sure you ask your employer for a list of in-network medical providers.
Additionally, you’ll need to make sure that your employer files a report of your injury with the insurance company, typically via a First Report of Injury form. The injury report is the first step to your making a claim. You have the right to review the report, but you should also keep copies of your own records to make a claim.
Just because you work in an inherently dangerous job doesn’t mean that you’re relegated to getting seriously injured on the job. Be vigilant that your employer is protecting your safety. If you are injured, discuss workers’ compensation law with the experts at Otorowski Morrow and Golden, PLLC.