Archive for November, 2020

Common injuries sustained by construction workers

Construction worker injuries

Construction workers have a dangerous job, especially those who work at heights. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s commonly used statistics, 1,008 out of 4,779 private industry workplace fatalities during 2018 were in the construction industry.

The workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl understand the most common types of injuries construction workers sustain on the job, including those that lead to fatalities. If you were hurt on the job and aren’t sure where to turn, we can help.

The Fatal four

The four leading causes of severe and fatal injuries in construction include:

  • Falls — Construction workers who work on ladders or scaffolds are the most at risk of falling from heights. Falls accounted for 33.5 percent of all construction fatalities in 2018, making them the leading cause. Falls often occur when:
    • Ladders aren’t secured properly or are defective, causing them to shift or sway.
    • Scaffolds aren’t properly assembled or secured, causing them to lean or break apart.
    • Workers slip while carrying heavy objects.
    • Workers fall into openings in scaffolds, ramps, or other high walking areas.
  • Struck by object accidents — When safety precautions aren’t put in place, it’s very easy to sustain injuries from falling objects, projectiles, machinery, or equipment. Struck by object accidents accounted for 11.1 percent of all construction fatalities in 2018.
  • Electrocutions —  Electrocutions often occur when wires and circuit breakers aren’t properly secured. Electrocutions accounted for 8.5 percent of all construction fatalities in 2018.
  • Caught-in/between accidents — Caught-in/between accidents occur when workers get stuck inside of or between large equipment, building materials and debris. These accidents accounted for 5.5 percent of all construction fatalities in 2018.

Other common injuries sustained by construction workers

  • Lung illnesses — Construction workers often come in contact with hazardous materials such as silica (which is found in concrete). Exposure to silica has been linked to serious and fatal illnesses such as silicosis, lung cancer, tuberculosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Back injuries — Back injuries can be caused by accidents on construction sites, repetitive stress, or heavy lifting. These often include muscle strains in the back; herniated discs; fractured vertebrae, and spinal cord injuries.
  • Knee injuries — Construction workers spend a great deal of time on their feet lifting and carrying heavy objects. Over time, this puts a lot of wear and tear on the tendons and ligaments in the knees, causing them to eventually tear or become inflamed.
  • Broken bones — Falls, caught-in/between accidents, being struck by objects, and accidents with equipment can cause serious bone fractures.
  • Puncture wounds — Puncture wounds are common when construction workers come in contact with sharp objects, are hit by projectiles, or have accidents with nail guns.

Contact an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney if you were hurt in a construction accident

The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl is dedicated to helping injured construction workers throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island receive fair compensation while recovering from their injuries. Our attorneys know how the workers’ compensation system works and how to work with insurance companies to maximize your chances of being compensated. We know that pursuing a workers’ compensation claim can be confusing and difficult. We’ll work with you every step of the way to help streamline the process.

Contact us online today to schedule your free and confidential case evaluation.

Can I get workers’ compensation for chronic back pain?

Chronic back pain

According to MayoClinic, back pain is one of the most common reasons people miss work and suffer from job-related disabilities. Back pain can include dull aching, burning, or a sharp pain. It may also worsen with physical activity. If you sustained a back injury on the job, it’s important to see a doctor if you experience:

  • Persistent pain that lasts more than a few weeks
  • Severe pain that doesn’t improve with rest
  • Pain that radiates down the legs
  • Pain that is accompanied by weakness, numbness, or tingling in the lower extremities

What are the leading causes of work-related back pain?

Work-related back pain can be caused by workplace accidents such as slip and falls and being caught in or between objects and equipment. In most cases, back pain develops over a long period of time and is the result of:

  • Poor posture
  • Heavy lifting
  • Working in awkward positions
  • Frequent bending and twisting
  • Poor workplace ergonomics

Back pain is often linked to:

  • Herniated discs. A herniated disc occurs when the gel-like substance between the vertebrae (bones of the spine) rupture and protrude. This puts pressure on the nerves of the spine, causing pain and discomfort.
  • Damaged vertebrae. Like herniated discs, damaged vertebrae can put pressure on the spinal nerves, causing a great deal of pain and other complications.
  • Muscle strain in the back. An injury to the muscles in the back can cause prolonged spasms, which can lead to pain and discomfort.

Back injuries are often treated with physical therapy, pain medication, exercise, and applying ice or heat. Serious back injuries such as herniated discs and fractured vertebrae require surgery to reduce the pressure on the nerves in the spine.

What is chronic back pain?

Workplace injuries often cause flareups of back pain that go away without treatment. For some workers, the pain never goes away, even after therapy, rest and pain medication. This is known as chronic back pain and usually affects workers who have degenerative issues affecting the spine. These include:

  • Wear and tear of the discs and vertebrae
  • Bone spur formations
  • Overgrowth of joints and ligaments in the spine

Older workers are the most at risk of developing chronic back pain, mostly due to repetitive stress on the back and spine. For workers who develop chronic back pain, the source of the pain is often difficult to pinpoint.

Can I collect workers’ compensation if I suffer from chronic back pain?

If you sustained back pain during the scope of your employment, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system that compensates injured workers for medical costs and lost wages. Workers who sustain permanent or long-term injuries may be eligible for disability benefits, even if they return to work for light duty.

It’s important that you discuss your injuries with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl. We’ll help you through the complex process of filing a claim. We’ll also prepare all necessary documents and medical records to support your claim and fight for a fair resolution. To schedule your free and confidential case evaluation, contact us online or call us.