Making sure you are well rested and mentally prepared for work each shift is imperative. This can keep construction workers from serious injury and even death, as there are countless hazards on a typical construction build site. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common construction site injuries suffered by workers are the following.
Heat stroke – Construction workers are required to work year-round, no matter what the weather is like. Unfortunately, for workers in very hot areas, this poses the additional on-the-job hazard known as heat stroke. Overexertion and sun exposure in the summer heat can cause workers to suffer a heat stroke. Symptoms such as nausea, lightheadedness, and often fainting are common. If left untreated, a heat stroke can lead to brain, heart, or kidney damage and even death.
Burns and scarring – Burns are one of the most common construction site injuries, mainly because fires and explosions on job sites are always a possibility. Exposed wiring, dangerous chemicals, leaking pipes all pose a potential risk for fires, which if not handled quickly and properly, could endanger nearby workers, neighboring businesses and even pedestrians in environments like New York City.
Head injuries – Head injuries occur frequently to falling objects, tools, or materials, especially for workers who are digging or building from the ground up. These injuries can include lacerations on the head, concussions, traumatic brain injuries, and more. A hard hat can help protect workers from these injuries, and of course, is required on all construction sites.
Injuries to the spinal cord – This type of injury occurs due to falls, usually off a ladder, scaffolding, or other high parts of the building site. Spinal cord injuries can lead to partial or full paralysis, lifelong disabilities, and even brain damage. Workers need to move carefully while moving around many stories high in the sky. These injuries come from having a false sense of security, and plain old carelessness.
Cuts and lacerations – Construction workers often suffer lacerations to the skin due to poorly maintained or defective tools, unsafe machinery, uncovered nails, and other on-site hazards. These cuts and gashes can lead to infection if not treated properly. Workers should wear protective gear at all times to prevent these injuries.
Broken, fractured, or crushed bones – Due to heavy machinery on most job sites, common construction site injuries include broken, fractured, or crushed bones. Bulldozers, cranes, and other equipment, if not operated correctly or properly secured, could hit or crush nearby workers, exacting serious injuries.
Limb or digit loss – Construction sites are full of heavy objects, materials, and pieces of machinery. If one of these falls on or traps a worker, it can easily cause serious injury. Additionally, if limbs or digits are crushed or severely mangled, it may require medical amputation in order to protect the worker’s health.
Loss of hearing – The loud noises of heavy machinery and building equipment make hearing loss one of the more common construction site injuries reported by workers. If employees fail to wear earplugs while operating jackhammers or other extremely loud equipment, they could affect or lose their hearing over time and even rather quickly.
Stress injuries – Construction requires a lot of repetitive movement. Constant lifting, bending, or moving in a certain way can cause stress injuries over time. These often occur in the back or neck areas and can have life-changing effects for the worker. Knees are also affected for the same reasons.
Vision loss – Exposure or improper handling of on-site chemicals, gases, and other hazards can pose a risk to the worker’s vision. In some cases, prolonged exposure can even lead to partial or complete vision loss.
Caution is advised to prevent any of the above injury scenarios, and prevention starts with training and good supervision. So head for work with a positive mindset, and plan to come home safely each and every shift. Make sure to take breaks when allowed, and if you are lucky enough to have an NYC Shanty on the job site, take advantage of the shelter it offers as often as possible.