A Guide To Construction Site Injuries
Construction is sadly one of one of the most dangerous industries to work in. A study conducted by Safe Work Australia over the course of 13 years found that construction workers are up to 4x more likely to be unable to work for a significant length of time following injury than workers in other industries, indicating the more serious nature of injuries sustained in this sector.
With that in mind, if you or a friend work in construction, make sure you know some of the basics of construction site industries so you can be informed and educated should you suffer an injury.
What is a construction site injury?
A construction site injury is generally a work-related injury for people employed in the industry. This could be across heavy and civil engineering, construction services, or building construction, along with some smaller categories of sub-services.
Examples of the types of injuries sustained are:
- Cuts/open wounds
- Chronic joint or muscle conditions
The injuries occur in a variety of ways, but can be caused by activities or incidents like falls, pushing or pulling an object, or hitting/being hit by an object.
What is the likelihood of sustaining an injury in construction?
The Australian Bureau of Statistics regularly conducts the Work-Related Injury Survey, which includes breakdowns of occupation groups and injuries.
The ABS states: “The occupation groups with the highest rates of people who experienced a work-related injury or illness were 'Machinery operators and drivers' (88 per 1,000 employed persons), 'Community and personal service workers' (73 per 1,000 employed persons), 'Technicians and trades workers' (72 per 1,000 employed persons) and 'Labourers' (66 per 1000 employed persons).”
Three out of these four listed could fall under construction, contributing towards it being known as a high-risk industry.
What to do if you have been injured on a work site
Every employer should clearly outline proper policies surrounding injuries and make that information freely and easily available to every employee. These policies will generally relate to timely reporting of injuries to a person in authority, filling out some sort of incident record, and seeking medical help and obtaining a certificate.
If you feel your employer has failed you in either prevention of an incident or in appropriate action taken after the fact, it may be necessary to speak to a legal professional who specialises in workplace injuries.
It is important to note that construction has a high rate of self-employed workers, who typically have different processes to follow than individuals who are employed by a business. Compensation will generally need to be addressed with the insurance provider in these cases.
Avoiding construction site injuries
Personal safety is something that should be a high priority on any work site. Keys to avoiding injuries include:
- Following all worksite rules and procedures
- Wearing correct PPE
- Staying alert and aware of surroundings
- Avoiding substances that can affect cognitive ability or reaction times
- Reporting damage or wear to equipment promptly to the relevant authority.
Construction site injuries have been shown to have a higher incidence of serious injuries causing workers to be off the job for one week or more. It is vital to follow all relevant rules and regulations, and to seek medical help if you suspect any sort of injury.
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