Most Hoosiers recognize that construction work is an integral part of Indiana’s economy. However, construction work is inherently risky, so it’s understandable that accidents happen. This is especially true in Indiana, which has a sizable construction industry. That said, modern safety equipment and techniques render the vast majority of construction accidents preventable.
Another way to prevent construction accidents is to learn more about the most common causes of accidents in construction projects. Arming yourself with knowledge about what frequently goes wrong can help you recognize similar patterns in your workplace and take action before things get out of hand. If you have already been affected by a construction accident, then it’s time to take legal action. Contact a quality law firm today.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Construction Worker Accidents?
If you’ve spent much time in the construction industry, you might be able to name many of the common causes of construction accidents. Let’s start with falling.
Virtually all construction projects involve work that occurs tens or hundreds of feet above the ground. Construction companies must provide harnesses, stable catwalks, and reliable scaffolding to protect workers. Sadly, many companies fail to abide by these requirements. Other times, the overseeing company doesn’t properly maintain or check safety equipment. This failure can lead to terrible and sudden collapses that cause paralyzing or fatal injuries. Construction site falls can result from a number of unsafe situations, including:
- Elevator shafts that are not properly marked or guarded;
- Ladders that are defective;
- Floor holes, wall openings, or ledges that are unmarked or unprotected;
- Inclement weather conditions, including rain, high winds, snow, and ice; and
- Unmarked trenches and excavation sites.
Even minor falls lead to broken bones, closed-head brain injuries, and spinal cord damage. As bad as those injuries are, falls can also leave you with subtle internal injuries that can debilitate you years after the initial incident.
One of the less-known causes of construction worker accidents is electrical accidents. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, shock results when the body becomes part of a closed electrical circuit. This often happens when a worker who is close to the ground comes into contact with live wires or faulty electrical equipment. As the faulty equipment touches the worker, the electricity courses through their body to the ground or another piece of electrical equipment.
The worst aspect of electrical accidents lies in their suddenness and unpredictability. A worker can be carrying out their duties as usual and then, in a split second, receive a life-threatening electrical shock. This sudden and unexpected turn of events can leave workers traumatized and their families devastated. Electrical accidents lead to a multitude of injuries, including:
- Heart failure,
- Breathing problems,
- Vision or hearing loss, and
- Loss of consciousness.
Electrical accidents can also lead to strokes and other long-term injuries.
Being Struck by Equipment
Construction sites involve constant motion. People are walking back and forth. Trucks transport materials, cranes operate, and various objects fall, swing, and roll around. Just a moment’s lapse of attention can result in one of these objects hitting a worker.
In fact, workers are so commonly struck by equipment that OSHA considers “struck-bys” one of the top four causes of worker deaths. Consequently, it isn’t too difficult to imagine a host of scenarios where workers are struck by equipment or materials. Here are a few potential examples:
- A caterpillar excavator strikes a worker because the driver isn’t paying attention;
- A worker on a high floor of a construction product drops their toolbox onto someone working near ground level;
- A nail from a nail gun hits a worker in the arm; and
- A load of large tires falls off a truck during transport, rolling into nearby personnel.
Unlike electrical hazards and falls, OSHA does not have definite standards for struck-by accidents. That’s simply because so many different objects can lead to struck-by injuries. Nevertheless, struck-bys are not inevitable and are easily preventable in most cases. When they occur, it is frequently because of a company’s lax or negligent attitude toward safety.
Caught In-Between Equipment
Rounding out our list of common construction accident causes in Indiana is “caught in-between” hazards. As you can probably guess from the name, a caught in-between hazard is anything that injures, crushes, suffocates, or otherwise harms a worker. One common example of a caught in-between hazard is a cave-in. When employees work underground to install electrical equipment or water mains, cave-ins are a significant risk. Another instance of a caught in-between hazard is any kind of equipment that pulls or sucks in objects around in. Without careful attention, a worker’s arm or leg may get drawn into a machine and seriously damaged. As is true with other construction accident causes, a strong culture of safety is vital for preventing caught in-between injuries.
I Have Injuries Because of a Construction Accident. Do I have a Claim?
Indiana law makes it difficult to sue your employer for common negligence. The reason is that Indiana law requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The thinking goes that if you receive workers’ compensation for an injury, you shouldn’t be able to sue your employer as well. That said, there can be situations where a worker can take their employer to court. You can also file a claim against third parties, including a contractor, subcontractor, or government entity. The best way to determine whether you have a claim is to contact us right away.
Let Gerling Law Give You the Legal Advice You Need
At Gerling Law, we aren’t just attorneys. Rather, we’re professional legal advocates who strive to serve our communities with compassion, fairness, and justice. We have decades of collective experience representing clients, and we know how to leverage our knowledge to your benefit. Throughout the years, we’ve achieved remarkable results with many of our clients. Our customer-oriented approach has earned us high praise from countless satisfied clients who appreciate the personal attention and excellent service we provide.
Furthermore, we firmly believe that justice should be an option for those with financial means. Therefore, we offer a free initial consultation to all potential clients. That means you have no reason not to contact us today. Call us today at 888-437-5464 or reach out to us online to start.