Construction is one of the largest industries in North Carolina. It’s also one of the most dangerous, accounting for some of the highest injury and fatality rates of any occupation. In this article, the Charlotte construction accident lawyers of the Ramsay Law Firm examine some of the most common injuries in the construction industry – and the types of accidents that cause them. If you were injured on a construction site in North Carolina, or if your spouse is a construction worker who was hurt on the job, contact the Ramsay Law Firm for a free consultation about your legal options.
Leading Causes of Death for Construction Workers
Unfortunately, even with continual advances in safety technology, there is still no such thing is an injury-free industry. However, construction is one of the most dangerous for workers, accounting for high numbers of fatal and nonfatal accidents every year. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a federal government agency tasked with studying and enforcing workplace safety regulations, there were 991 construction deaths in 2016.
As is true of any industry, some types of accidents and injuries are more prevalent than others among construction workers. For example, OSHA has identified construction’s “Fatal Four,” or the top four leading causes of death in the construction industry. According to OSHA, these “Fatal Four” – which collectively caused nearly 64% of the 991 construction fatalities in 2016 – are:
- Construction Site Falls – accidental falls accounted for 384 of the 991 deaths in 2016 (about 39%).
- Struck-By Accidents – Accidents in which workers were struck by objects accounted for 93 fatalities (about 9%).
- Electrocution – Electrocution accidents killed 82 construction workers in 2016 (about 8%).
- Caught-In/Caught-Between Accidents – Accidents where workers were caught in or caught between machinery caused 72 fatalities (about 7%).
According to OSHA, “Eliminating the Fatal Four would save 631 workers’ lives in America every year.”
4 Common Injuries in the Construction Industry
The types of construction accidents described above can result in a wide range of injuries – many of which prove fatal for their victims. Below are four of the most common.
#1: Electrical Burns
OSHA cites electrocution accidents as the leading cause of death in the construction industry in the United States. Even in less serious cases where the victim’s injuries are survivable, nonfatal electrical burns are some of the most painful and disabling injuries that a person can endure. Other than intense and persistent pain, the effects of electrical burns can include permanent scarring and loss of sensation in the affected area.
#2: Bone Fractures
Bone fractures (broken bones) can result from construction site falls, from accidents where workers become entrapped or caught by machinery, or from accidents in which workers are struck by falling objects. Types of bone fractures include comminuted fractures, traverse fractures, oblique fractures, simple fractures, and compound fractures. Depending on the severity of the fracture, the healing period may range from weeks to months. One of the easiest bones to break is the clavicle, or collarbone, an injury that limits arm and shoulder motion.
#3: Catastrophic Injuries
A catastrophic injury is an injury that will either result in death or have permanent, life-altering consequences for the victim. Due to the nature of construction site hazards, such as immensely powerful machinery, huge amounts of weight, and heights far above the ground, it is common for the victims to sustain extremely serious injuries when accidents occur. Common examples of catastrophic injuries include crush injuries, spinal cord injuries, and limb amputations. Some amputation injuries are traumatic, meaning the limb is severed in the accident, while others need to be performed surgically because the limb is too severely damaged to be treated.
#4: Wrongful Death
Wrongful death is broadly defined as a death that occurs due to the negligence of another person. When a construction worker files a workers’ compensation claim, he or she does not need to prove negligence but is often unable to file a lawsuit against an at-fault employer. However, they may be a separate claim against an at-fault party and it may be appropriate to also file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Charlotte Construction Accident Lawyers Handling Personal Injury and Workers’ Comp Claims
The North Carolina construction accident attorneys of the Ramsay Law Firm have more than 25 years of experience helping injured construction workers and their families pursue fair compensation for construction site injuries. Whether we are filing a workers’ compensation claim on behalf of an injured worker, or are helping the surviving loved ones of a wrongful death victim file a lawsuit against a construction company or equipment manufacturer, we dedicate ourselves to seeking justice. For a free legal consultation about your rights after a construction accident, contact our Charlotte personal injury lawyers online, or call the Ramsay Law Firm at (704) 376-1616.