What are construction injuries?
A construction based workplace is an environment where the day-to-day work often involves building and maintenance. What is different about a construction workplace to others is that it isn’t confined to a single site permanently. Employees can be maintaining a motorway one week and seeing construction of a new housing estate the next.
These workplaces carry higher risks than most workplaces due to the heavy machinery and processes involved in daily work. Many construction sites require extensive PPE depending on tasks being carried out. Safety procedures are an extremely important aspect of working in construction as we do unfortunately see examples of serious injury and even fatalities each year in these environments.
High risk factor
The nature of construction work, using cement mixers, heavy power tools, machinery like excavators and tipper trucks; carries elements of risk in a normal work day higher than almost any other industry. Mandatory PPE required for construction sites include steel toe capped boots, hard hats, heavy-duty goggles and ear muffs.
Working with unsecured structures and with heavy machinery can carry serious consequences. Risks on a construction site include:
- Falling debris
- Noise damage to ears
- Lacerations from machinery
- Moving HGVs
- Falling from height
- Manual handling injuries
- Asbestos & other airborne fibres
- Exposure to electricity
Construction industry incidents
In a construction environment it is not unlikely that injuries suffered are more serious (and potentially fatal) than other workplaces due to the type of tasks performed with the materials/ tools required. Serious injuries we have experienced from our clients in the past include:
Severe burning: Construction sites use a multitude of tools to build and maintain Britain. From blowtorches to heat guns, tar heating pots to all manner of electrical power tools. All of these carry the risk of rendering serious 3rd and even 4th degree burns to anybody working with them if skin is exposed for even a short time.
When we consider burns, we don’t always think about other types of burns than from contact with fire. It simply takes an extremely hot environment focussed on a small surface. Exposure to heat guns or tar after being heated can have devastating effects on the victim. Damage can include 2nd, 3rd and 4th degree burns that could require skin grafting or even amputation if the area becomes infected.
Electrical burns can also have exactly the same life changing effects, except with the added potential of causing sub dermal damage, penetrating deep into the tissue and even affecting the nervous system of the victim. All types of burns can change a person’s life from psychologically (if they need skin graft or have been badly scarred) to long-lasting nerve damage that could impair the use of limbs if injured beyond full repair.
Lacerations/Amputations: When exposed to tools that are designed for cutting, drilling, chamfering and shaping materials, the risks of those tools accidentally coming into contact with yourself are high; even more so if incorrect technique, PPE or tooling is given to you. The majority of machinery used in a construction based environment is likely to be heavier usage than that of a regular tradesman such as a joiner, plumber or electrician.
When heavy machinery cuts into somebody, regardless of the location on the body, there is potential for much worse than simply cuts. Deep lacerations from a blade or drill will cut deep into human tissue, into muscles and even into bone. The severity of cuts into bones or muscle could mean the end of physical activity using that area of the body again if it is a bad cut. The recovery time from such injuries can range from months to many years, with the chance of a full recovery not being possible.
Any laceration that is deep could cause enough damage that the affected limb would never recover, or that the risk of infection is too high. Amputations of affected areas such as hands, arms, legs and feet may render the victim unable to work for the rest of their life and need extra care or alterations to their lifestyle.
Severe slips, trips & falls: When speaking of slips, trips and falls it is often thought of as a minor injury occurred and rarely as an injury experienced in construction. The truth however is that these simplest of injuries can cause very serious damage in this particular environment due to the external hazards within a construction site. Employees work with heavy, solid materials and sharp tools that even when stationary or on the ground can cause serious injury if fallen upon. If the workers are also at height, on the side of a building, on scaffolding or on platforms, the result of a fall can be extremely damaging or even fatal.
Falling on a saw, bricks or uneven surface could lead to punctures in the body, broken bones, deep lacerations and even brain damage should the person fall and hit their head. Suddenly what normally results in a sprain, dislocation or minor break could become a long-term, severe, life threatening injury under the wrong circumstances. Extensive PPE is given to construction employees for the very purpose of trying to avoid these worst of scenarios.
Brain injuries: Risks in the construction industry of brain injuries are higher than other workplaces. The potential of rubble, materials and tools falling on a worker is high. These risks could, depending on the force/sharpness/weight and shape of the object, easily cause much damage resulting in either blunt force trauma to the brain (with potential internal bleeding) or even cutting the head and cracking the skull. Both options could lead to the victim being rendered unconscious; a resulting brain injury could threaten their life and not just the rest of their career.
Brain injuries are one of the most serious injuries anybody can suffer with the chances of complications high. Any brain function affected can change a person’s life instantly, requiring them to need care for the rest of their life, force them to retire or even kill them. With such high stakes, compensation from this type of injury would be need to aid the long-term recovery process; not just for the victim but extending to their family who may also lose out financially and emotionally.
Spinal injuries: Similarly to brain injuries, the risks of tools, debris or even structures that aren’t complete falling on a person can cause harsh bodily harm. With spinal injuries this can extend to carrying too much weight, being struck by any vehicles on site or even a slip, trip or fall on a hard surface, sharp-edged surface or from height.
Spinal injuries in construction settings can end a working career; they can cause anything from lifelong back pain to numbing and weakening of joints to the loss of use in limbs depending on where the impact happens. Paralysis whether it is partial or total can heavily impact the life of a victim alongside their family, with extra care requirements possibly needed for the rest of their life.
The long term impact of spinal injuries (be it a break of the column, pressure causing ruptures, penetration into the bone or over rotation) can cause huge financial strain on a sufferer. We will always aim to help claim enough compensation to keep a victim and their family secured for any future lifestyle changes and requirements post injury.
Aftercare & support
Sincere Law has dealt with serious injuries from construction industry accidents for 20 years; involving victims requiring amputations, long term physiotherapy, psychotherapy and other dramatic lifestyle altering changes. In the most severe cases the working life of the victim involved would unfortunately be over. The most important aspect following serious injury to us is your care and support afterwards, whether that be care required, medical costs, equipment to alter the home and lifestyle and of course loss of earnings from time away from work or the inability to continue working.
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury of any kind as a result of working within a construction environment, get in touch with one of our advisers to see if you are able to make a claim. Our solicitors work on a ‘no win no fee’ basis, so you won’t pay anything if your claim is unsuccessful. To speak to us simply call 0800 092 2896 or fill in our contact form here. We give free, impartial advice to anyone who thinks they have a claim.
Related Case Study
Serious Construction Injury
What are construction injuries? A construction based workplace is an environment where the day-to-day work often involves building and maintenance. What is different about a construction workplace to others is that it isn’t confined to a single site permanently....