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Nonfatal construction injuries top all other industries combined – despite seeing a big drop

Construction worker

The construction industry has become significantly less dangerous over the last two decades but still has a higher injury rate than all other industries combined, according to a recent study. Even though nonfatal injuries sustained in work accidents dropped approximately 57% from 2003-2019, the construction industry continues to outpace every other industry by a wide margin. For example, the nonfatal construction injury rate in 2019 was nearly 30% higher than all other industries combined. So what does this all mean?

Identifying the trends

The Center for Construction Training and Research (CPWR) reports that the nonfatal injury rate in the construction industry was 112.3 per 10,000 full-time workers in 2019, with smaller construction companies having a significantly higher injury rate than larger companies.

"In 2019, the injury rate in establishments with 11 to 49 employees was five times higher than their large counterparts with 1,000 or more employees (150 versus 30 injuries per 10,000 FTEs)," the report states. "In general, the larger the establishment size, the lower the injury rate was in construction. However, the rate for establishments with 10 or fewer employees was lower than establishments with 11 to 49 employees in 2019."

The report notes this is likely the result of poor protocols on the job site, a lack of proper safety equipment, and insufficient safety training.

Here are the other key takeaways from the report:

  • Contact with objects or equipment (e.g., excavators, loaders, graders) was the leading cause of injury and accounted for about one-third of all nonfatal construction injuries. The other main causes were overexertion and fall accidents.
  • Nonfatal injuries sustained by construction workers in falls to a lower level increased by 41% from 2011-2019.
  • Among construction subsectors, the highest injury rates from 2017-2019 were in framing, concrete pouring, and flooring.
  • Many of those who suffered nonfatal injuries on construction sites were ages 20-24. Older workers sustained fewer injuries but required more time away from work if they suffered an injury.

What are the most common types of injuries?

It's no secret that working in construction is a dangerous job, and that's without mentioning how physically demanding it is. As such, there are many different injuries a construction worker can sustain on the job site, including but not limited to:

  • Amputated limbs (hand, fingers, toes, etc.)
  • Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Burn injuries
  • Electrocution injuries
  • Lifting injuries
  • Back injuries (herniated discs, fractured vertebrae, etc.)
  • Broken bones
  • Knee injuries
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Wrist injuries
  • Joint dislocations
  • Overexertion
  • Toxic exposure
  • Repetitive stress injuries (carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, tennis elbow, Raynaud's Syndrome, etc.)

From accidents involving a fall from height or getting caught in machinery to trench collapses and falling objects, construction workers are at high risk of sustaining a serious or potentially fatal injury while on the job. If you suffer an injury at a worksite, be sure to first seek immediate medical attention and then notify your employer in writing that you were injured in an accident. In Pennsylvania, you may be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits for your current and future medical expenses, lost wages, and disability benefits (in certain circumstances).

After a construction injury, Vellner Law has your back

Accidents on construction sites happen, but you shouldn’t have to go through the confusing process of obtaining workers' comp benefits on your own – especially while you're trying to recover.

Unfortunately, getting the benefits you deserve isn't always as easy as it should be. You may be getting pressure from your employer to return to work before you're ready. The severity of your injury might be getting called into question. Or you may be getting accused of having a pre-existing condition. In any case, having an experienced attorney on your side to protect your rights and help you navigate the entire process can be tremendously beneficial to the outcome of your claim.

Attorney Anthony Vellner is a workers’ compensation lawyer who knows about hard work. If you’ve been injured while on the job site, contact us today for a free consultation. We have offices conveniently located in Allentown and Bethlehem and would be honored to speak with you about your case.

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