Working in construction has its risks. Workers often work long hours in difficult weather conditions, in tight corners, high places, and through a variety of physically challenging situations. But no matter what challenges are expected on a particular job, it is important that the workers have the support they need from their employers, equipment manufacturers and owners, as well as the property owners of the site.
Construction Injuries Too Common
Of all the injuries that can occur on the job for a construction worker, crush injuries are among the most devastating, often resulting in the loss of a limb or death. Overall in the construction industry, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there are close to 150,000 injuries on construction sites each year. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revealed that 10% of workers in the industry are injured every year, and in 2005 the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that more that 1,200 workers had died on the job.
Reasons for Crush Accidents
Crush accidents are likely to occur during the unsafe evacuation of buildings, poor support of trench systems, especially after rain, when vehicles operate too close to an edge, or when walls collapse because supporting structures are insufficient. Workers may also be trapped and crushed by vehicles, cranes, or other machinery.
A Hefty Price
Not only are these injuries horrifying, they are also expensive. In the year 2002, fatal construction injuries cost an average of $4 million each. Nonfatal injuries in construction had an average price tag of $42,000. The average injured person had 115 days of missed work due to construction site injuries and had their income reduced by $21,000.
Long Term Effects
In many cases, when crush injuries happen, employers or insurance companies will try and convince people that simply filing a Workers’ Compensation claim will be sufficient. In most situations, this is not the case. For one, Workers’ Compensation will not cover pain and suffering, and may not be able to adequately account for such issues as future earning potential and loss of wages of caregivers or long term medical expenses.
Many times, those who have a had a limb crushed while on the job will require amputation of that limb, which will leave the person permanently disabled — an ordeal that is difficult for the entire family. At times, the responsibility for these injuries doesn’t lie completely with the employer, and a separate personal injury case must be pursued. For example accident can occur due to unsafe conditions on the property caused by the actions or negligence of a party other than the injured person’s employer, such as an equipment manufacturer or other third party.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury or death at a work site due to a crush accident, it is helpful to gather any information you can about the incident and act as promptly as possible. OSHA reports can often shed light on the particulars of what happened in a given situation. In most cases, even where a person survives a crush incident on the job, these types of incidents will change the lives of the injured person and their family forever. And while these types of injuries may never heal completely, negligent property owners and businesses must be held accountable for their negligent acts and omissions which cause harm to workers. If you or a loved one have been crushed or injured in a digging or trenching accident. Contact us for help.