Some of the most dangerous jobs in America are in the construction industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that construction work has the highest number of worker fatalities of any industry.
This should not be surprising, since many construction jobs include exposure to chemicals and the weather, high elevations, small and confined spaces, electricity, power lines and cables, and work with power tools and other machinery.
A construction site can involve risks from falling objects, faulty scaffolding, defective machinery, inattention, careless or intoxicated co-workers, failure to inspect potential hazardous conditions, and failure to install or to follow standard safety measures or procedures.
Falls from ladders and scaffolding can occur from inattention or defective products, resulting in head trauma, concussion, closed head injuries, coma and death. Closed head injuries, such as concussions, are common, and repeated head trauma has been linked to early signs of dementia and other long-term effects, such as seizures, chronic headaches, nausea and Parkinson's disease.
Falls can also lead to spinal cord injuries, such as paralysis of the lower extremities, or quadriplegia, which is partial or total paralysis of the arms and legs. Victims must endure a lifetime of constant and expensive medical care, along with loss of income and psychological trauma.
Construction workers may also suffer from repetitive motion injuries, such as carpal tunnel. Repetition, incorrect posture, heavy lifting, and overuse of certain muscles can lead to back and knee injuries, as well as neck, shoulder, wrist and hand injuries.
Burns from handling or exposure to electrical equipment, intense steam, heated water and chemicals is a constant risk in some construction jobs. Burns can be extremely painful and slow to heal and if severe, can lead to increased risk of skin cancer and extensive treatment that can last for years. Electrocution from exposure to uncovered or faulty electrical wiring or mishandling of electrical equipment is not uncommon.
Other significant injuries from construction site accidents include eye disorders from exposure to dangerous fumes and chemicals due to failure to wear protective eyewear. Permanent loss of hearing can occur from exposure to constant loud noises or from head or ear trauma and is a common disability among construction workers.
A New York attorney experienced in injuries related to construction work should be consulted to explain the legal rights of a worker who sustains a serious injury while engaged in construction work.