Construction consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous jobs in Mississippi. Employers should be doing everything within their power to protect construction workers while they are on the job, but time and time again Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law sees the opposite.
Many construction injuries are preventable with the right safety precautions and training. Unfortunately, it is the workers who suffer the most when an employer decides to ignore safety rules. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer knows how construction site negligence puts workers at risk for serious on-the-job injuries.
Defining Construction Site Negligence
Construction site negligence occurs when employers, supervisors, or managers fail to follow existing standards of care and safety, which in turn, creates a danger for workers and sometimes the public as well.
You are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you were injured on the job. All Mississippi employers who have five or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage, and those with fewer employees can voluntarily carry coverage.
Understanding the various ways in which construction site negligence can manifest will help you better support your workers’ compensation benefits claim.
Ignoring Safety Standards
Safety rules and standards exist on construction sites for a reason. The nature of the construction industry is inherently dangerous, as workers often use dangerous tools, work at significant heights, and spend their days around large machinery. A construction accident can have devastating consequences.
Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that there were nearly 7.5 million people employed in the private sector of the construction industry in 2019. That same year, the BLS recorded approximately 200,100 cases of nonfatal work injuries and illnesses among construction workers. These included:
- 79,700 injuries that required days away from work
- 42,000 injuries that required transfer to a different job or restricted work activities
- 78,400 injuries that required medical attention but not time away from work
Many construction workers are well-aware of the construction site negligence hazards they face, too. According to the National Safety Council 2020 Safety Technology in the Workplace Survey, 41% of surveyed construction workers reported being exposed to safety hazards while on the job. Another 24% of the construction workers involved in that survey said that they suffered an injury on a construction or installation site.
Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law is familiar with some of the most common forms of construction site negligence:
- Inadequate fall protection. Whether on scaffolding or on roofs, construction workers often have to spend time working at significant heights. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set forth clear guidelines for fall protection for workers, including guardrails, safety nets, and personal fall arrest systems. All construction workers should be provided with adequate fall protection and properly trained on limiting fall risks.
- Ill-fitting personal protective equipment. Personal protective equipment (PPE) protects workers from some of the more common construction site hazards. Hard hats, earmuffs, safety glasses, gloves, masks, and protective boots are commonly used by construction workers throughout the course of their workdays. Employers must always provide PPE that fits correctly, or risk their workers being left vulnerable to hazards from which they should be protected. This issue is especially prevalent among women construction workers who have a harder time finding PPE that is designed and constructed to fit them.
- Insufficient training. Construction work is a specialized field that requires the right knowledge and practical training. Employers should be sure that they properly train all new hires, including on the practical side of the job as well as the proper ways to wear and use PPE and fall protection equipment. When an employer fails to train or educate a newly hired worker, or does not provide regularly scheduled safety training as a reminder to current workers, they may be acting negligently.
Any of the above construction site negligence can be hazardous or even deadly to the men and women who work on construction sites. Whether an injury puts someone out of work for a week, month, or longer, Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law believes that every construction site injury victim deserves help in the form of workers’ compensation benefits. Construction workers who have suffered the following injuries should be able to pursue benefits:
- Broken bones
- Amputated limbs or digits
- Spinal cord or back injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Eye injuries or vision loss
- Ear injuries or hearing loss
- Illnesses from chemical exposure
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Overexertion injuries
- Knee or leg injuries
- Hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS)
Construction site employers in Mississippi have a responsibility to care for and protect their workers while they are on the job. A few easy ways to minimize the risk of serious injuries or death are to:
- Plan ahead. Employers should consider all possible aspects of a given job and decide how to best accomplish it, including which tasks and related safety equipment are necessary.
- Use the right equipment. If construction employees will be working at heights or with heavy machinery, employers should provide the correct PPE and other safety equipment to get the job done right and safely.
- Train all workers. Supplying the right safety equipment is not going to do much good if workers are not sure how to use it. Training all workers on how to use PPE and other equipment will create an environment and culture of safety on a construction site.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for a Construction Site Negligence Injury
Every worker deserves to feel a sense of safety and dignity when they clock in at work. When an employer disregards safety rules and standards, injuries come as no surprise.
Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law knows how dangerous construction site negligence is. Construction workers who are injured on the job often experience severe, life-altering injuries. Many victims are unable to return to the construction industry or need long periods of recovery before they can get back to work. Despite this, workers’ compensation claims are often initially denied.
Working with a workers’ compensation lawyer can help improve your chances of securing benefits on the first try. If you’ve already been denied, the guidance of a knowledgeable attorney can provide your appeal with better support and direction. Do not hesitate to reach out today. When you contact us to schedule a consultation, you are making the all-too-important decision to prioritize your own needs, health, and well-being.