Construction Accidents and Injuries: What To Do If You Are Hurt On The Job
By Dean I Weitzman, Esq. on February 23rd, 2012
A steel floor beam collapsed as construction workers were pouring concrete on top of it at a Cincinnati work site last month, leaving some 13 workers injured, according to a story on Cincinnati.com.
These kinds of construction accidents happen all the time, often causing serious, life-changing injuries for workers and their families. Construction is a dangerous occupation, from working with heavy equipment to working at high heights or even in trenches and excavated work sites. Machinery breaks, beams can collapse, concrete can fail – the list of potential accidents is almost limitless.
That’s where work site safety and vigilant oversight come into play and can make the difference between a safe work site and a deficient one.
In Cincinnati, the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) and the city of Cincinnati are continuing their investigations into why the steel beam supporting a section of the second floor collapsed last month at the still-under-construction Horseshoe Casino there.
There were almost 3.1 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported among private industry in 2010 – the last year that full statistics are available – according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That means there were 3.5 workplace injury cases per 100 full-time workers in 2010, which is down slightly from 3.6 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2009, the agency reported.
In 2010, “more than 4,500 U.S. workers died from occupational injuries,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
For construction workers in the U.S., the fatality statistics are grim, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) inside the CDC. “In 2009, there were 816 fatal on-the-job injuries to construction workers – more than in any other single industry sector and nearly one out of every five work-related deaths in the U.S. that year (19 percent),” the CDC reported.
If you are hurt on the job in the construction field, you have legal rights that protect you to ensure that you get proper medical treatment and are compensated for your wages in the event you are unable to work.
The AFL-CIO labor union has several tips for injured workers:
*Notify your supervisor, the personnel department and your union steward, the AFL-CIO advises.
*Get the medical treatment you need. You may be required to see a doctor selected by your employer. If you are injured on the job, your employer’s insurance company is obligated to pay for reasonable and necessary medical treatment.
*If your employer has written an incident report, get a copy of it for your records. You may need this information if you seek Workers’ Compensation benefits.
*You also may be entitled to temporary or permanent disability benefits or vocational rehabilitation benefits. If you file a claim for benefits and it is rejected, you may appeal the ruling, even to the courts. Experts recommend seeking legal advice.
*The U.S. Department of Labor advises that private-sector and state and local government workers injured on the job should contact their state workers’ compensation board. The department’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs also has specific information for federal workers, coal mine workers and longshore and harbor workers.
OSHA has several tips for injured workers as well:
*Report any injuries or workplace accident incidents immediately.
*Get medical help quickly to prevent more serious injuries. Don’t ignore pains and other warning signs from your body. If you have been injured, you have a right to speedy and complete treatment.
*Document everything and keep good records about the incidents that led to your injuries.
If you are seriously injured at work, you should immediately talk with a competent, professional and compassionate attorney about your case. You have a myriad of legal options, including filing for Workers’ Compensation or filing a lawsuit to recover damages if your case warrants additional legal action.
The best way to review your legal strategy is to know your legal options from the start so that you can make the best choices for you and your family.
In the meantime, in the workplace, you can be you own best advocate. If you or someone you love is asked to do something in a workplace that appears to be dangerous or life-threatening, then you need to thoroughly and completely discuss it with the person asking you to perform the dangerous task.
You need to be sure that all safety procedures are being followed to the letter and that you are minimizing any and all risks to yourself and others.
And if you still have concerns, then you need to discuss them immediately with others in the workplace until you get a satisfactory reply regarding safety and proper procedures.
If such a situation puts your job in jeopardy, or if you are injured on the job due to unsafe conditions, then you should contact a qualified attorney who can fight for you and your rights. The skilled attorneys and legal staff here at MyPhillyLawyer are here to help you in such a case.
You have the right to remain safe in your workplace. Be sure that you protect those rights for you and your family.
When Winning Matters Most, call MyPhillyLawyer.