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1/4/22 6:30 AM John Lewis

Working on a construction site is physically demanding and at times, dangerous. Sadly, it is inevitable that accidents and injuries will sometimes occur. Thankfully, most construction site injuries are minor and leave no lasting consequences. Occasionally, however, some injuries sustained can be serious and life-altering.

 

Accidents And Injuries Common To Construction Sites

There are a variety of circumstances that can lead to accidents during the course of conducting work on a construction site. These include:

  • Slips and Trips

  • Falls From Height

  • Chemical Spills

  • Structural Collapse

  • Fires And Explosions

  • Trench Collapses

  • Electrocutions

  • Falling Objects

  • Repetitive Movements

  • Equipment-Related Accidents

  • Vehicle Accidents


Accidents may occur as a result of inadequate training, incorrect use (or lack of) personal protective equipment (PPE), defective work equipment, or an otherwise hazardous work environment.

 

The types of injuries sustained vary broadly, and their impact depends upon the particular circumstances and the individual who has suffered them. Serious construction site injuries can include:

  • Fractures

  • Crush Injuries

  • Burns

  • Spinal Injuries

  • Amputation

  • Brain Damage

  • Smoke Or Other Chemical Inhalation

  • Psychological Damage

 

Sadly, some construction site-related injuries are fatal and because of that, we are going to cover construction site accidents and how to prevent them in this article.

 

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Workplace Safety And Your Rights

You are legally entitled to work in an environment that prioritizes your health and safety - one in which the risks are regularly assessed and minimized to reduce the chances of you sustaining an injury while at work. Your employer is the primary person legally responsible for this, and they can protect you in the following ways:

  • By providing you with all relevant health and safety training

  • By preparing regular risk assessments regarding the overall workplace operations, as well as specific work processes that are carried out

  • By labeling all potential hazards

  • By providing you with all appropriate PPE

  • By keeping the work environment tidy, clean, and well-organized to avoid slipping and tripping accidents

  • By discouraging you from taking any shortcuts and training you in the safest way to carry out particular tasks

  • By conducting regular emergency drills to help you to prepare for any potential accidents, such as chemical spills or workplace fires

  • By promoting a strong workplace safety culture to include rewards and positive reinforcement for employees who demonstrate a commitment to the safety practices in place

 

You also have a duty of care as an employee to help prevent workplace injuries. You can do this by carefully following the outlined health and safety procedures to avoid putting your or your colleague’s safety at risk. Be sure to report any unsafe working practices, machinery, systems, or equipment, as well as anyone not following the safety procedures properly. Health and safety legislation stipulates that workers and employees cooperate with all safety protocols.

 

If you have any particular concerns regarding the health and safety of your workplace, speak to your supervisor, or a trade union, or a health and safety representative.

 

Agency workers are still protected under the health and safety laws and employment agencies have a duty of care to ensure that all employers follow such laws.

 

The Health And Safety Executive (HSE)

If your concerns are not satisfactorily addressed and you fear for the safety of workers on a construction site, you can contact the HSE for assistance and advice. If you suspect that someone is breaking the law and no one in your organization will take any action, the HSE can investigate the matter, and there are laws in place to protect you from resultant victimization.

 

Construction Site Accident Impacts

If you have been involved in a serious construction site accident, it is likely that you will require time off work - and in particularly serious cases, you may not be able to return at all.

 

While your company may be able to assist you financially, this is typically only for a short period of time and you may subsequently find yourself experiencing financial hardship.

 

It is common for physical injuries to bring about psychological struggles, such as anxiety and depression, as those injured attempt to manage the significant changes to their routine and way of life. It is common for construction workers to go from being healthy, motivated financial providers, to suffering a loss of identity as they become unable to provide for their families.

 

Family members also often need support to cope with the changes brought about by their loved one’s injuries. Depending upon the circumstances, they may even need to become a carer, which can impact their own ability to work and/or take care of children.

 

Construction Industry Charities

Whilst many injured workers may be able to file a personal injury claim against their employers, it can be months or even years before they receive any compensation.

 

If you do a quick google search, you will find charities such as Construction Angels

who provide emergency financial assistance to families in crisis, support on legal, tax, and debt-related matters, and advice regarding occupational health and mental wellness.

 

Final Thoughts

You have a right to work in a safe environment, as well as an obligation to speak out if this is not the case. If you have been unfortunate enough to have sustained a construction-site injury, be sure to lodge any relevant personal injury claims as soon as possible and engage with a lawyer if necessary. Additionally, help is available to you, and you should contact the Lighthouse Club for support and advice. Follow this advice to prevent injuries in the workplace.

 

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