People who pursue jobs in the construction industry typically know beforehand that their careers will be physically demanding and require that they undertake safety risks. In fact, laying brick several stories above the ground, installing electrical wiring, and using a jackhammer or blowtorch are just a few of the many tasks that people in this industry deal with on any given day.
Just because tradesman are aware of the dangers does not exempt construction companies from being held liable when their workers are hurt on the job. Both employees and their contractors should know the possible health conditions and injuries they could face in this line of work, and also, how they can receive proper treatment and compensation if they are injured or become ill while working on or as a result of a job site.
Construction-Related Illnesses and Injuries
Given the physical nature of this line of work, it is little wonder that people in this profession often sustain significant damage to vital parts of their bodies. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists common hazards as well as protective solutions in their safety series. Below is a list of the more common injuries or illnesses incurred in the construction industry:
1. Lung cancer or disease: Construction workers often come into contact with dust particles, asbestos, smoke and dirt in their profession. Exposure to these elements can lead to the onset of pulmonary lung disease or lung cancer.
2. Hearing loss: Workers and contractors often must work around noisy, high-pitched equipment such as jackhammers and saws. The noise from this machinery can cause people to lose some or all of their hearing over time.
3. Head and back injuries: Falling objects, or being required to lift heavy objects like sacks of concrete or piles of bricks can cause workers to suffer serious injuries to the head and back.
4. Eye injuries or vision loss: Flying concrete and dust particles, as well as the flames from a blow torch, can cost a person their vision. People in this profession routinely suffer from scratched corneas, conjunctivitis, and partial or total loss of sight.
Treatment and Compensation For Your Injuries
Like any other employer, a contractor is required to have worker’s compensation insurance in place for his or her staff. Workers who suffer injuries or illnesses due to their employment at the company have every right, and indeed would be expected to make a claim against that insurance policy and also see a doctor within the allotted time frame.
Regardless of how minor the illness or injury may seem at first, there’s every chance it could lead to further complications. Sometimes an injury may not even be that painful on day one, then the following day you might not be able to use your hand or even walk. Trying to avoid bringing attention to yourself, or just taking it in stride, could cost you and your family much financial strain in the future. Also, remember the insurance company will do everything in its power to minimize the claim, and attempt to pay as little as possible toward your expenses or pain and suffering.
The American Public Health Association (APHA) estimates that over a 45-year career, a construction worker has a 75 percent likelihood of experiencing a disabling injury. The awareness of these statistics can be a source of stress at work or it can be used as motivation to protect oneself and one’s rights. Because this profession presents a lifelong risk of injury and even death, you should be prepared to enlist the help of legal counsel because you can bet, the insurance company will be ready. A lawyer who specializes in workmens compensation law can ensure that the affected individual receives back pay, as well as proper compensation for future lost wages and medical expenses – and make certain that the worker is not fired unjustly.
The construction industry is inherently one with many health risks, and for this reason the pay is usually far above what workers in other fields enjoy. People who work in this profession can protect themselves by becoming more aware of some of the more common illnesses and injuries associated with this line of work, taking any safety precautions that apply, as well as being careful to document and receive proper treatment and compensation for any injuries or illnesses suffered as a result of doing their job.
Freelance writer and artist Molly Pearce has published work on a variety sites addressing the topics of human rights, health and wellness. Concerned for a loved one in the construction industry, she drew from careful research, statistics, and her experience as a Registered Health Information Technician to provide this useful information for at-risk contractors and their families.