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Falling down on the job: common construction injuries

Construction sites are active, busy places, and while this is great for getting jobs done, it also can result in injuries. Researchers at the Bureau of Labor Statistics point out that simple preventive measures can help protect workers against these common incidents.

Guarding against falls from roofs

According to the Center for Construction Research and Training, falls are the greatest cause of construction fatalities. Falls from roofs are the most prevalent, with falls from scaffolding and ladders following close behind. Roofing companies should require their employees to wear harnesses and use lifelines, but you will often see roofers climbing around high off the ground without any protection. Replacing a roof or installing a new one is a dangerous project; however, using protective equipment will help get the job done much more safely.

Ladder safety

As part of their Prevent Injuries Campaign, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons publishes safety pointers about ladder use. The most obvious of these is to use thoroughly inspected ladders that are selected according to the task, location and the weight of the people who will be using this equipment. Employers should provide ladder safety information and training. Proper ladder positioning is an important safe practice employees should learn to follow.

Issues with hard hats

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 60 percent of construction jobsite injuries are suffered by workers in their first year of employment, and 84 percent of workers who sustained head injuries were not wearing hard hats. Most were hurt while looking down, and many were injured by contact with stationary objects. Workers on construction sites should wear hard hats, but there are three main reasons why they are willing to go without this protection:

  • Hard hats are too heavy
  • They lack ventilation
  • They do not fit properly

The BLS survey indicates that in many instances of head injuries, employees were not obligated to wear head protection; only 5 percent reported that their employers required wearing hard hats. In some cases, these were uncomfortable to wear because of being an older design. Newer styles are made so that the helmet weight is more evenly distributed, and many are vented to allow air to circulate, which makes wearing a hard hat in hot weather much more comfortable. Some designs even have full brims for improved sun protection.

Seeking legal help

If you have sustained an injury as an employee at a construction site, you may have many questions about your rights and what steps you should take. In the state of Wisconsin, you are entitled to workers' compensation if you were injured on the job, and depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to additional benefits.

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