Rhoades & Morrow

Just another PLM WordPress site

FREE CONSULTATIONS

DELAWARE INJURY LAWYERS

Wilmington 302-427-9500 Bear 302-834-8484 Milford 302-422-6705 Lewes 302-550-0155

Category Archives: Construction Accidents


Wilmington Construction Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Workers Injured in Accidents at Construction Sites.

Construction Worker Fatigue

The construction industry is one of the most dangerous fields for workers, and one with the highest level of worker fatalities. Construction work is physically and mentally demanding, and without periods of adequate rest, workers can suffer fatigue, which can be especially risky in such a dangerous environment.

For each hour of physical exertion without appropriate periods of rest, the effects of fatigue begin to manifest, causing decreased alertness, slower reaction times, inability to concentrate, loss of dexterity, and impaired motion. On a construction site, this can be a recipe for disaster leading to serious accidents and injuries.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 75 percent of construction workers report being tired at work, often due to rotating shift work, long shifts, and sleep loss. Many construction workers report feeling fatigued “to the point they had safety concerns” following three to four consecutive days of 10-hour work shifts.

What Is Fatigue?

Fatigue is mental or physical exhaustion that occurs when the body is low on energy due to exertion. Fatigue can result from many other factors as well, including sleep disruption, emotional stress, chronic health conditions, and poor diet.

Fatigue is reported to be a contributing factor in one-third of all occupation injuries as it causes lack of focus and concentration, sluggish memory, slows reaction times, and the ability to make decisions. Multiple studies have demonstrated that the performance effects of fatigue parallel those of alcohol impairment. OSHA reports that 12-hour work shifts pose a 37 percent increase in the risk of injury.

A study by the NSC concluded that a staggering 100 percent of all construction workers experience at least one risk factor due to fatigue while working. The work demands inherent in the construction industry make the field more susceptible to fatigue, including:

  • Constant communication regarding complex tasks
  • Irregular and rotating shiftwork, including early morning or nighttime shifts
  • Less than 12 hours of recovery time between work shifts or days
  • Physically demanding labor and repetitive tasks
  • Shifts consisting of 10 or more hours per day
  • Working 50 or more hours per week

Additionally, long commutes, frequently changing schedules, and complications requiring additional extended on-the-job hours to fix before quitting further contribute to worker fatigue.

The study further revealed that perceptions regarding fatigue differ between management and workers. Nearly 98 percent of construction employers consider fatigue a safety issue compared to only 75 percent of workers. The NSC reports the disparity is likely due to the workers’ belief that fatigue is “just part of the job,” due to the physical demands and long hours.

What Are Some Common Causes of Fatigue?

In the construction industry, nearly every aspect of the work can result in workers experiencing fatigue at some point. Some of the more common causes include:

  • Inadequate breaks: Fatigue is a sign that your body needs a break to rest and recover, even briefly. Workers who push through fatigue either by choice or by force from supervisors, run the risk of having or causing serious injury to themselves and coworkers.
  • Overtime: As work hours increase so does the risk of fatigue-related accidents. Repeated days of working extended hours increases fatigue and stress that, over time, can result in serious or chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, musculoskeletal disorders, digestive problems, depression, anxiety, and diabetes.
  • Night shifts: Evening and overnight shifts require your body to be awake during times that it is prewired to be sleeping, known as circadian rhythm. Disruptions to the rhythm’s rest schedule reduce the body’s ability to fully recover before the next exertion, making workers fatigued and at a much higher risk of accident and injury.
  • Lack of training: Employers are required to implement safety measures and train all employees on procedures and how to identify potential hazards. In the construction field, employers should include training workers on how to identify signs of fatigue and drowsiness, the importance of adhering to mandatory shift breaks, and best practices to reduce mental and physical fatigue.

In the construction industry, weather is also a significant contributing factor in worker fatigue. Exertion in hot temperatures causes mental and physical fatigue more rapidly, leading to reduced performance and slower reaction times. Coupled with dehydration, worker fatigue during hot weather can drastically increase the risk of accidents and serious injuries.

Lack of sleep is another significant contributor in worker fatigue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three Americans does not regularly receive the recommended seven hours of continuous sleep each night. While we sleep, the body restores energy and repairs damaged muscles and tissue, a critical element in preventing fatigue.

What Are Some Steps to Prevent Worker Fatigue?

The first step in addressing worker fatigue is education – training the work force to recognize the dangers of fatigue and how to spot when a coworker may need a break to avoid an accident. While fatigue cannot be completely eliminated in the construction industry, there are steps both the employer and the worker can implement to help lessen its effects, such as:

Employers:

  • Include fatigue management in the planning stages of each job
  • Develop work schedules that allow sufficient resting periods by:
    • Shorter schedules during night shift
    • Require a minimum number of rest hours for workers after 10 or more hour shifts before reporting to work the following day
    • Place limits on the number of consecutive hours of night shift an employee can work
  • Establish procedures for monitoring and managing fatigue risks
  • Provide a method that workers can use to anonymously report work schedule problems and concerns
  • Include fatigue as an option in root cause investigations

Workers:

  • Be responsible during time off and allow for rest and recovery before returning to work
  • Protect your sleep time by not taking extra work that reduces resting and sleeping time; maintaining a regular sleep schedule with at least seven consecutive hours sleep; allowing an unchanging four-hour “anchor” sleeping time and take supplemental naps as necessary; arranging your sleeping area to better accommodate sleep and change household routines, if necessary, especially during periods of night shift work; and avoiding alcohol and caffeine before sleeping.
  • Monitoring yourself and coworkers for the early signs of fatigue, such as eye rubbing, frequent blinking, staring blankly, or fidgeting and restlessness.

Wilmington Construction Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Workers Injured in Accidents at Construction Sites

Long hours coupled with physical labor can deplete construction worker’s energy, reaction times, decision making abilities and more, increasing the risk of accident and injuries significantly. If you have been injured in a work site accident, our Wilmington construction accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow have extensive experience representing construction workers. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients in Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

The Wilmington Construction Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Injured Construction Workers from Ladder Falls.

What Causes Ladder Accidents on Construction Sites?

Working in the construction industry is not an easy thing to do – with the fast-paced environment of many people doing different things at the same time, it is no wonder that the construction industry ranks near the top in terms of workplace accidents every year. Ladders are commonly found in the construction industry, but they are especially dangerous, particularly when not used properly. The construction industry has the highest rate of injuries related to ladder falls compared to any other industry.

Ladder falls are quite serious as they can lead to debilitating injuries and even death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that over 40 percent of fatal falls that happen every year involve a ladder, including 15 percent of all work-related deaths. The CDC also found that almost half of all fatal ladder injuries resulted from a head injury; nonfatal injuries were injuries to the lower and upper extremities.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), ladder accidents are not inevitable and are 100 percent preventable. With proper safety training and equipment, ladder falls could be at a minimum, saving billions of dollars in workers’ compensation claims, as well as thousands of injuries and hundreds of lives.

  • Use the right ladder – There are various ladders available, each performing specific tasks. It is important to always use the right ladder for the job at hand, as each one has certain weight limits, height, and function. Never repurpose a ladder; if the ladder is either too short or too tall it will likely cause overextending which is very hazardous. Overloading a ladder is dangerous and may cause it to break, so always check to make sure you are using the appropriate ladder that can handle the height and weight needed for the job.
  • Level ground – All ladders need firm level ground in order to be used safely and properly. Anything else other than flat and sturdy ground, including soft and shifting ground, is unsafe and will likely lead to a fall. Make sure the ground the ladder on is also dry and free of any obstructions. It is highly recommended to use a ladder with someone else at the bottom keeping the ladder steady and secure.
  • Check the ladder – Before using the ladder, be sure that it is free of any damage, and it is in good condition. Do not use it if it is old and is worn in anyway.
  • Always use properly – Never use a ladder in a way in which it is not meant to be used. Only one person should be on the ladder, and do not use it if you feel ill or dizzy. Face the ladder when going up and use rungs of the ladder to help you climb, not the sides. Never lean or overreach and keep three points of your body on the ladder at all times, whether it be two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand. Employers should provide proper safety training for all their employees, so they are sure of what is and what is not safe ladder use.

The Cost of Ladder Falls

For a worker who has suffered an injury from a ladder fall, the cost could be enormous, both physically and mentally. Medical treatment and rehabilitation, time away from work, and maybe a career change or disability are all possible outcomes for an injured worker’s future. Although a ladder can cost a few hundred dollars each, the average construction industry injury can cost more than $27,000.

About the majority of ladder-related falls result in a trip to the hospital.  The average fall distance among construction workers is seven and a half feet. Serious injuries do occur in falls of that height. Falls from ladders make up over 80 percent of hospitalized construction workers, while in other industries ladder falls only account for 20 percent. Of those injured workers who end up in the emergency room, 14 percent are admitted to stay overnight. This is nearly three times the overall hospital admission rate.

The average copay of a worker is $250 with insurance; without insurance, costs of hospital visits can get quite expensive, spanning upwards of thousands of dollars. If an ambulance is needed, it will get even more expensive.

Not only are medical visits and hospital stays expensive, but so are the lost days at work. They not only affect the employee’s pocket, but their employer’s productivity as well. In the span of a year, over 15,000 ladder-related injuries caused workers to miss at least one day of work. Falls that led to serious injuries resulted in more than five days of work, as well as costing the construction industry over $2.5 billion in workers’ compensation costs. Falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims in the construction industry, which is the most across all industries.

Ladder falls lead to a myriad of injuries, but even ladder use can strain a worker’s back and knees. All joints are getting fatigued while using a ladder – knees, back, shoulders and arms. When fatigue sets in, the body becomes tired which increases the risk of a fall. It becomes even worse if the worker is carrying something up and down the ladder or is stretching to reach something. Constant fatigue to the body can lead to improper use of the ladder and will likely lead to a fall.

A good solution to costly ladder-related injuries in the construction industry are the use of push-around lifts. With a low-level lift, workers can work with both hands and have a full range of motion while on an enclosed platform, minimizing the need to stretch, bend or overreach. Push-lift use also helps eliminate muscle fatigue. In a three-year span, there were only 360 injuries from slips or falls stemming from a push-lift, compared to the industry’s average of 93 ladder injuries per day.

The Wilmington Construction Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Injured Construction Workers from Ladder Falls

The risk of suffering a ladder fall injury in the construction industry is high compared to all other industries. If you have suffered an injury at work, then you must contact the Wilmington construction accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow immediately. Our knowledgeable team has years of experience with these types of injuries and get you the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 302-427-9500 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we service clients throughout the state.

construction slip and fall

Slip and Fall Accidents at Construction Sites 

Construction sites can be cluttered, busy, and have lots of potential dangers for workers. Slip and fall accidents are common causes of injuries at construction sites. According to the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) slip and fall accidents account for about a third of all reported worker injuries at construction sites. They also account for about 40 percent of construction site fatalities. 

OSHA says 320 construction workers died from injuries suffered in slip and fall accidents in 2018, or nearly one death every day. 

OSHA says construction workers who suffer injuries from slip and fall accidents miss more work than when hurt by other injury accidents. The average slip and fall accident causes a construction worker to miss 50 percent more time from work than other workplace accident injuries. 

Two Types of Construction Site Slip and Fall Accidents

The nature of construction work creates two general types of slip and fall accidents at construction sites: “same-level falls” and “falling to a lower level.” 

Falling on the same level commonly occurs outside of construction worksites as well as within them. If you ever slipped and fell while shopping in a grocery store or while trying to negotiate an icy section of a walkway, that is a same-level fall. 

Many construction sites also experience falls from one level to another. Falling to a lower level can be much more dangerous than a same-level fall. It happens often when workers are elevated on scaffolding to accomplish their jobs. 

Same-level falls could result in serious injuries, including death. Falling to a lower level increases the chances of suffering catastrophic injuries and death.

How Slip and Fall Accidents Commonly Happen at Construction Sites

The potential exposure to weather, scattered equipment, and debris makes workers at construction sites especially vulnerable to slip and fall accidents. The higher up the slip occurs, the more injurious the fall could become. 

Fortunately, it is possible to identify and correct common sources of slip and fall accidents at construction sites. Among conditions that commonly cause the accidents are:

  • Damaged or broken handrails
  • Exposed electrical cords and wiring
  • Lack of safety equipment and training
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Wet and slippery surfaces

Electrical cords and exposed electrical wiring pose a constant danger of slipping or tripping that leads to falling. Many construction tools require electricity or lighting to use. So electrical cords and wiring are ever-present and readily capable of causing a slip and fall accident. 

Workers who use scaffolding might lose their balance when a handrail or a poorly-secured plank becomes unstable. An uneven surface on scaffolding, the ground, or inside the structure that is under construction could cause a slip and fall accident. 

The exposure to weather and the potential for liquid spills also could increase the risk of slipping and falling. So could improper use of safety equipment that is designed to protect workers against falls and other mishaps while working. Thorough training and checking on workers will help to ensure they use safety equipment properly.

How to Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents at Construction Sites

It is very important to be proactive at addressing possible workplace dangers. Regular inspection of the worksite can help to identify debris, loose handrails, and other common causes of slip and fall accidents at construction sites. 

It is important to ensure that workers are wearing work boots that enable better traction. It also is important to provide them with safety equipment and training in proper use to reduce the possibility of injuries due to slip and fall accidents. 

Workers should have access to ice melt, sand, or kitty litter that they can scatter onto icy or slippery walkways to improve traction and safety. 

Scaffolding should undergo a thorough inspection prior to the start of each work shift. Regular inspection can identify loose handrails or planks that could cause a worker to slip, trip, or fall from the scaffolding or other platforms.

If the worksite has multiple floors, workers might use lifts to get up and down. It is very important to ensure only workers who know how to operate a lift have access to the controls. Workers who do not know how to operate them are more prone to making errors that cause someone to fall. 

Whenever workers have to work up high, they should have safety harnesses that they use and prevent them from falling to the ground. Those safety harnesses will not work if the workers do not know how to use them. Training is what makes them effective.

Training and simple observation are the two best tools for reducing slip and fall injuries at construction worksites. Workers should be trained in proper safety procedures and continually reminded to ensure a high rate of compliance. 

Workers also can be trained to take a few minutes to investigate their respective work areas. If anything is amiss, it should be addressed right away. That will help to reduce the work hazards that could cause slip and fall accidents and other mishaps while on the job. 

Workers’ Compensation for Construction Site Slip and Fall Accidents

If you suffer an injury due to a slip and fall or other accident while working at a construction site, Workers’ Compensation insurance should cover your medical costs and time away from work if you miss more than three days. 

With slip and fall accidents so common at construction job sites, filing a claim should be relatively easy, but it always helps to immediately notify your supervisor either before or just after obtaining medical treatment. Your employer or the insurer might try to deny your claim in part or in whole. If so, an experienced construction accident lawyer can help you to build and file a strong claim for benefits. If a lawsuit becomes necessary, your attorney could help you to hold your employer and Workers’ Compensation insurer accountable for your injuries and damages. 

Wilmington construction accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow

If you suffered an injury while working at a construction site but your Workers’ Compensation claim was denied, our Wilmington construction accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help. You can call us 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our law office in Wilmington, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we service clients throughout the state.

The Wilmington Construction Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help You Get the Benefits You Need.

Are Construction Workers at Risk of Power Tool Injuries?

While any worker can get injured, construction workers face some of the most serious injuries on a daily basis. The use of power tools can cause serious injuries if they malfunction or when they are not used correctly.

Unfortunately, these injuries can leave workers with serious injuries and ongoing medical needs, while also keeping them out of work and unable to earn a living. The good news is that if you have been injured at work, your employer has an insurance policy that will probably apply.

What Types of Injuries are Common with Power Tools?

There are many injuries which can occur from the misuse of a power tool or when a power tool malfunctions. Injuries range from painful but quick recovery to life-altering.

  • Laceration: Lacerations, cuts, and puncture wounds are some of the most common injuries from power tools. When a sharp object pierces the skin, it can cause a quick jolt of pain but can also lead to an infection if not properly treated.
  • Repetitive Motion: Power tools allow construction workers to perform certain tasks quickly and effectively. But those same tools used over a long period of time can cause painful damage to a worker’s muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. Repetitive motion injuries are extremely painful but can heal well if caught and treated early.
  • Electrocution: On construction sites, electrocution hazards are always present. If a socket is not properly installed or if there is a faulty wire in the power tool, the worker could get an electric shock. This can cause painful burns and be permanently debilitating. Sometimes fatal, electrocution can make a worker’s heart stop and cause brain damage.
  • Tripping: Tripping is another always present hazard on construction sites. When a power tool is used, they require an outlet, but there is not always one nearby. Workers sometimes need to use long extension cords and, if not properly secured, could present tripping hazards where workers could suffer sprains, strains, and even broken bones. In the worst-case scenario, a worker could trip and fall from a height, causing serious injury or even death.
  • Eye Injuries: When using power tools, workers should wear protective eye gear. And not just workers using the power tools, but all workers nearby. Especially when using nail guns and other power tools that shoot items at high speeds, workers can instantly suffer eye injuries if they are not properly protected. This could cause permanent blindness and other types of eye damage.
  • Hearing Loss: Construction sites are noisy workplaces. It is estimated that nearly half of all construction workers suffer some level of hearing loss during their careers. Much of this hearing loss comes from power tools. These tools are very loud and often used very close to the worker’s ears. Hearing loss and other ear injuries are not life-threatening, but can be life-altering.
  • Be Crushed: One of the most devastating injuries a worker could suffer is getting crushed. Whether from large construction equipment or from a heavy power tool, when some item falls on a worker, it can cause life-threatening injuries. These could include injuries which require amputation.

Workers’ Compensation

Under Delaware law, all employers, with a few exceptions, must carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage. This insurance provides compensation to workers like you who get injured while working. It is no fault insurance, which means that you are entitled to benefits, unless you intentionally injure yourself. Even if you caused the accident, so long as you did not intend to cause yourself any harm, you would still be entitled to benefits.

To collect workers’ compensation benefits, you need to report your injury to a supervisor as soon as possible. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company will require a full report within a very short period of time. You cannot delay reporting this to them.

Workers’ compensation benefits only cover medical bills and lost income. So non-economic damages like pain and suffering are not included. But, depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may have other legal options to collect compensation for your injuries and your suffering.

Other Legal Options

If your workplace injuries fall under your employer’s workers’ compensation benefits, you will not be able to sue your employer for additional compensation. However, you can file a third-party claim if another party contributed to your injuries.

One place to look for additional liability is the manufacturer of the power tool. Sometimes, power tools are defective and that can have disastrous consequences, leading to serious injuries for workers.

For example, if you are a construction worker using a nail gun and the nail gun malfunctions and launches debris into your eyes, it is possible that the nail gun was improperly manufactured. This means you could file a claim against the company who manufactured the nail gun and attempt to get additional compensation from that company to compensate you for your injuries and suffering.

If you are working on a construction site and a contractor leaves a power cord out which you trip over, fall, and break your leg, you may be able to file a claim against the contractor and their employer. While filing a personal injury claim may be the last thing on your mind after suffering a workplace injury, it can be a good way for you to try to collect compensation for your injuries, above and beyond the workers’ compensation benefits you may be entitled to receive.

The Wilmington Construction Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help You Get the Benefits You Need

Getting injured at work can cause serious issues not only for your ability to earn a living but also get collect compensation for your injuries. When you are injured at work, your employer’s workers’ compensation policy will apply. But that does not cover everything you may need. To determine your legal options, speak with our Wilmington construction accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. Call us today at 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with our experienced team. With offices in Wilmington, Delaware, we proudly serve our neighbors across Delaware.

 

Wilmington Construction Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Can Fight for Your Rights After a Construction Accident.

Who Could Be Responsible for My Construction Injury?

One of the most dangerous jobs to have when it comes to workplace accidents is a construction job. The construction industry has one of the highest workplace injury rates in the country year after year.  It makes sense, too, given the vast number of ways a construction worker can get injured on the job, from minor cuts to serious injuries. Every year, there are many construction worker injuries and deaths that occur on jobsites.

Most construction workers know that when they are hurt on the job, they will get Workers’ Compensation benefits via the mandated Workers’ Compensation Insurance employers carry for such accidents.

This form of insurance, which the state of Delaware requires of almost all employers, provides wage loss benefits and coverage for medical expenses. In some cases, injured construction workers can seek more compensation for their injuries above and beyond Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Construction Industry Work-Related Injury Statistics

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) indicates that there are on average, about 5,000 work-related deaths each year in the United States. Out of those 5,000, 20 percent are in the construction industry.

That 20 percent further proves that jobs in the construction industry are some of the most dangerous. Hazards are everywhere at a construction jobsite. Nearly 60 percent of the construction industry deaths are caused by:

  • Falls.
  • Electrocution.
  • Falling objects.
  • Crane accidents.
  • Caught in-between  pieces of equipment.

Most of these claims will be covered by Workers’ Compensation insurance. However, some of these incidents will involve negligence from a third party, and the injured worker can file a lawsuit against them as well.

Difference Between Workers’ Comp and Third-Party Lawsuits

A Workers’ Compensation claim and a third-party lawsuit are two very different things. As previously said, all you get in a Workers’ Compensation claim is your medical expenses reimbursed and your wage loss compensated. The wage loss would be set at two-thirds of your average weekly gross wages when you resume work. You only receive that much until you return back to work. However, with a third-party liability lawsuit, you can seek much more compensation for your injuries.

With a third-party liability lawsuit, you can recoup any unpaid medical bills and wage loss that was not covered, but you also get to claim damages pain and suffering. The addition of these damages can add a significant amount of money that the injured worker might receive, above and beyond what they got from the Workers’ Compensation insurance claim.

Other Damages  Available in Third-Party Liability Claims

There are other types of compensation that plaintiffs in third-party liability claims may pursue. A loss of consortium claim can be filed by the spouse of the injured employee as part of the lawsuit. This sort of claim reimburses the spouse for the loss of services and comfort and care that would have been provided by the injured worker owing to the work injury.

In rare cases, an injured plaintiff can seek punitive damages from the at-fault party when their actions are outrageous, intentional, or grossly negligent. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant, as opposed to compensate the injured plaintiff.

Examples of Negligent Conduct by Third Parties on Construction Sites

After a construction accident, an option is to pursue Workers’ Compensation benefits. If an incident is caused by the negligence of a third-party, injured construction worker may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit.

On most large construction sites, a general contractor is in control of everything. Then there are various subcontractors on the job site doing specific tasks, such as electrical, plumbing, roofing, masonry work, scaffolding, architectural, and engineering. If any of these subcontractors did something that was negligent and caused another worker to be injured, they would be responsible for the damages to that worker.

Examples of cases where third parties were held liable to injured construction workers include:

  • Malfunctioning equipment that caused injuries.
  • Improper set up of scaffolding or using substandard materials in scaffolding causing a collapse.
  • Lack of safety devices such as fall protection devices and systems.
  • Faulty blueprints and designs by the architects, or engineers that cause walls and portions of the building to collapse.
  • Lack of proper safety rules, procedures, and controls that the general contractor should have put in place.
  • Collapsed wall or ditch constructed or fabricated by another subcontractor.
  • Lack of warning or protection against falling in unguarded holes or pits.
  • Work-related motor vehicle accidents caused by third parties.
  • One contractor being struck by heavy construction machinery that is negligence driven by another contractor.
  • Faulty wiring by the electrical contractor, causing electrocution risk.
  • Subcontractor is negligent and drops something heavy from up high.
  • Negligent exposure to toxic chemicals and substances.

Wilmington Construction Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Can Fight for Your Rights After a Construction Accident

If you have been injured in a construction accident, you may have other options besides collecting Workers’ Compensation. It is possible that you may have a third-party liability claim, which may offer additional funds for pain and suffering and other damages. Our Wilmington construction accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Wilmington Construction Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Focus Their Practice on Representing Seriously Injured Construction Workers.

How Can Workers Avoid Foot Injuries on Construction Sites?

When you are working on a construction site, your feet are susceptible to serious injuries. You are always on your feet if you are a construction worker. Most often, the only time you sit is during lunch breaks. That is why foot safety is so important on a construction site. If an injury to your foot prevents you from standing for prolonged periods of time, then you will not be able to do your job efficiently and safely.

A foot injury may have difficulty healing if you are on your feet all the time at work. For this reason, workers with foot injuries will not be able to work in order to heal. Every time you put weight on an injured foot, you risk injuring it again and causing additional problems. Foot injuries are often painful and hard to heal because of this.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has rules in place to help prevent workplace injuries, including ones involving feet:

  • Workers must wear safety shoes when working in locations where there is a risk of slipping and falling or objects piercing the sole.
  • Protective footwear must meet ANSI Z4 or have equivalent design requirements. Impact and compression protection are provided by all ANSI-approved shoes. However, the level and sort of protection may not always be the same. Different footwear protects users in various ways. Make sure to review the label of the footwear.
  • Shoes or boots may need to have special electrical conductivity insulation or other non-conductive protective material in order to prevent electrical shock.
  • Chemical-resistant boots may be required to protect against caustic, reactive, toxic, or corrosive substances during cleaning or surface preparation.
  • Slip-resistant shoes should always be worn in any type of construction or production facility environment, but especially if the worker will have to be in icy or rainy weather conditions.

Many construction work settings require boots with toe caps and puncture-proof soles. Non-slip soles, chemical-resistant materials, insulation, or other protective features may be required in your profession. Ensure that the shoes are safe according to necessary safety standards.

What Are the Most Common Foot Injuries in the Construction Industry?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are approximately 60,000 foot injuries every year that cause employees to miss time from work. On average, these injuries cause up to five days of missed work, causing up to $600 million in lost production.

With so many bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the feet, there are a large number of injuries that can happen in the construction industry. The most common foot injuries in the construction industry include:

  • Broken bones.
  • Puncture wounds.
  • Amputation of toes or feet.
  • Foot sprain.
  • Burns.
  • Cuts and lacerations.
  • Hypothermia.
  • Bunions and fallen arches.
  • Electrical shock.

There is also the possibility of multiple injuries to the feet. You may see this if a worker has a catastrophic workplace accident. For example, suppose a construction worker’s foot is severely damaged by heavy machinery. If this happens, the worker will likely suffer from many different types of injuries, including broken bones, lacerations and cuts, puncture wounds, crushing injuries, or even amputation.

What Are Common Causes of Construction-Related Foot Injuries?

If you know what causes foot injuries in the construction industry, then you might be able to prevent one from happening on the job. You can put procedures, rules, and systems in place that could help prevent a foot injury from happening. The OSHA has identified six common work-related foot injuries and causes:

  • Broken bones: Crushed or broken injuries due to falling objects, moving vehicles, and being trapped or caught in between objects.
  • Puncture injuries: Punctures of the sole of the foot are caused by loose nails, sharp metal, or glass objects. Puncture wounds can easily get infected if not treated promptly. You can even get tetanus from a puncture injury.
  • Cuts and lacerations: Cuts and lacerations of the feet can be caused by chainsaws, rotary mowers, and unguarded or improperly guarded heavy machinery.
  • Burns: Foot-related burn injuries are caused by splashing molten metal, chemical spills, contact with fire, and flammable or explosive materials.
  • Electrical shock: Electrical shock is caused by static electricity, contact with sources of electricity, including exposed hot wiring or wiring that is not properly grounded.
  • Sprains: Sprains can happen in slip and fall accidents. You could slip and fall on scaffolding or from wearing improper footwear.

If you have been injured at work, you may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits. It is important to report your accident and injury as soon as it happens. It is also critical to get immediate medical attention and keep your reports. This will help link your foot injury to the accident. If there is a problem with your Workers’ Compensation claim, a lawyer may be able to help. They will fight to protect your rights.

Wilmington Construction Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Focus Their Practice on Representing Seriously Injured Construction Workers

If you have a severe foot injury from a workplace accident and need help with a claim, our Wilmington construction accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can advise you on the next steps to take. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.

worksites

What Should I Do if I Have Been Injured on a Construction Worksite?

Given the nature of the profession, construction sites are inherently dangerous places to work. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 360,000 non-fatal work accidents per year occur at construction worksites, and over 1,000 accidents result in fatalities. In fact, over 20 percent of all job-related fatal workplace accidents occur on construction sites annually.

Construction workers contend with dangerous equipment, electricity, water, heights, hazardous materials, and inexperienced coworkers on a daily basis. The profession requires physical skill, quick reaction, and extensive knowledge and operation of complex heavy equipment and tools.

Due to the high rate of injuries on construction sites, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has enacted numerous state and federal safety regulations to protect construction workers. Every state requires that employers provide safe and healthy work environments to protect their employees. 

Despite every effort to provide a safe and healthy worksite, accidents can still occur, resulting in injuries ranging from cuts and bruises to a fatal crush or slip and fall injury.

If you are injured at work, you should be entitled to Workers’ Compensation for medical bills and lost wages. It is essential to your claim that, if you are able, take every action to preserve the events surrounding your accident.

Report the Injury

As soon as your injury occurs, notify your supervisor. Workers’ Compensation insurance requires employers file an official record of the incident, which will be used to evaluate your claim. 

If no official report of the construction accident is taken because you or a coworker fails to notify the employer, you will not be able to file a claim for compensation due to your injuries. You are also entitled to a copy of the employer’s report.

Seek Medical Care

The most important step with any workplace injury is to be evaluated and treated by a medical professional, even if you think the injury is minor. Many serious medical conditions, such as concussion or internal bruising and bleeding, do not necessarily present at the time of injury. Ignoring injuries such as these can have catastrophic consequences, and lack of medical treatment can forfeit your compensation claim.

Document Everything

If you are physically able, make a record of everything, including photographs. Document where the injury occurred, when it happened, what injured you, and how. Photograph the injuries, scene, materials or equipment involved, hazard signs or lack thereof, and anything else that may become relevant to your Workers’ Compensation claim. If the worksite has a security camera that may have recorded the accident, request a copy of the footage.

Gather Witness Statements

If you are able, take notes or audio recordings of witness statements, including names and contact information, as you or your attorney may need to speak with them later. If you are not physically able, ask a coworker to obtain this information on your behalf. 

Contact a Lawyer

Your statements and actions following a workplace injury are extremely important and can be crucial in determining the outcome of your claim. Before making any official statements to your employer or insurance companies, seek counsel from an experienced attorney. You are entitled to handle your own injury claim, keep in mind that what you do and say is irreversible and could potentially jeopardize your case. A seasoned attorney is well-versed in Workers’ Compensation laws in your state, knows your rights, and will help you obtain and compile the records and evidence you need to support your claim for compensation.

The Fatal Four

While any number of accidents can happen on a construction worksite, the OSHA identifies the four most common injury risks as the “Fatal Four:” 

  • Falls: According to OSHA, over 40 percent of construction-related deaths are the result of workers falling from ladders, roofs, cranes, scaffolding, and many other high places. Falls even from seemingly short distances can have fatal consequences, such as internal damage, brain and spinal trauma, and impact injuries.
  • Struck by objects: Along with workers falling themselves, being struck by falling objects can be equally as dangerous and fatal. Tools, materials, buckets, and the like tumbling from a roof can be deadly to workers below. The OSHA reports that brain and neck injuries sustained due to the impact of an object striking a worker account for nearly eight percent of all construction fatalities per year.
  • Electrocution: Working under overhead power lines or near electrical panels is especially dangerous should workers come in contact with the high voltage current. Electrocution causes brain damage, burns, and irreparable damage to internal organs, and it accounts for over eight percent of construction-related deaths. 
  • Caught-in or caught-between accidents: Four percent of construction site fatalities are caused by compression, which is when a worker is caught in between equipment or other large objects or crushed under collapsing structures or materials.

What Are My Rights as a Worker?

Reporting your injury protects your legal rights following a worksite accident. Most states require same day reporting but, depending on your injuries, it is understood that is not always possible. In this situation, report the accident as soon as possible.

Filing your Worker’s Compensation claim should be the next step. Doing so provides formal notice to your employer, the employer’s insurance company, and the courts. Additionally, filing your claim provides you with certain automatic protections. These may vary by state, but all include general protections, such as:

  • The right to file your claim in either the Workers’ Compensation or state industrial courts.
  • The right to seek medical evaluation and treatment, including necessary ongoing medical treatment based on your injury.
  • The right to return to your job if released by your physician.
  • If you are unable to return to work as a result of your injury, either temporarily or permanently, you have the right to disability compensation.
  • The right to appeal any decision by your employer, the insurance company, or the court if you disagree with the decisions in your case.
  • The right to hire a lawyer and have legal representation.

Wilmington Construction Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for Those Injured on Construction Worksites

Accidents on construction sites are common and can be life-altering events. If you have been injured while working at a construction worksite, contact our Wilmington construction accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford. 

 

Construction Accident

Who Is Liable for a Construction Accident?

Construction sites are full of activity. Construction sites also have a reputation for having hazards and frequent workplace accidents, even though there are numerous safety guidelines and rules. When someone is injured on a jobsite, it can be a result of a person not following safety protocols or even malfunctioning machinery.

If you have suffered a workplace injury and the prognosis indicates that you will recover in a few weeks, Workers’ Compensation may provide you with enough benefits to get you back to life as usual. This coverage includes medical care and covers a portion of lost wages, no matter who caused the accident. In some cases, you may be able to file a third-party claim if a negligent party other than your employer caused your work injury.

The owner of the construction site has some responsibility for keeping the area free of hazards in order to keep everyone there safe. They may give control to third parties, like subcontractors, and they in turn hold responsibility for maintaining the safety rules. Owners and subcontractors could both be held responsible for construction accidents.

Construction architects, designers, and engineers are tasked with designing projects that conform to safety regulations and building codes, and they should not create designs that put workers in danger. Following blueprints that do not follow those codes can be a real recipe for disaster. All of the other contractors on the site should make safety a priority, and their work is coordinated with other contractors who may not be as conscientious.

If construction tools, equipment, or machinery are defective or unreasonably dangerous, an injured worker may file a third-party claim in addition to Workers’ Compensation benefits. Some workplace hazards that potentially warrant a third-party claim include: 

    • Defective or missing handrails.
    • Uneven and hazardous stairways.
    • Electrical problems.
    • Faulty tools and equipment.
    • Toxic fumes.
    • Fire hazards.
    • Asbestos exposure.
    • Explosions.
    • Building collapses.

How Can I Prove a Third-Party Caused My Injury?

These cases can be challenging because construction sites are constantly changing. Anyone who may have contributed to an accident may be encouraged to tidy up the scene soon afterwards, removing any evidence that could help prove negligence. You may have to take photographs, get testimonies from coworkers, and contact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for an investigation.

When the liable party seems to be a designer or manufacturer, the case may fall under the products liability umbrella. These cases often use expert testimony to help show that the device that caused the accident was unreasonably hazardous. It is not unusual to have lawsuits where multiple parties are found to be liable. For example, if a scaffold broke and a worker fell, the manufacturer and subcontractor that owns the scaffold might be responsible.

If you end up suing another party for a construction accident, there will most likely be an investigation into what happened. Investigators may try to establish that there was an unsafe working environment. They may look for uncovered holes, tripping hazards, unsafe ladders, and other OSHA violations. If it is alleged that a piece of machinery is defective, investigators will want to know if the machinery has a history of causing problems.

What Should I Do After a Construction Accident?

Some construction accidents cause catastrophic injuries, including: 

  • Broken bones.
  • Shoulder injuries.
  • Spinal cord injuries.
  • Head and brain injuries.
  • Electrocutions.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Eye injuries.

If you have a severe injury, you may need benefits to cover your long-term medical expenses.

You may be able to sue if someone besides your employer caused the construction accident and if your Workers’ Compensation benefits are not enough to cover your damages. This involves proving negligence. You can work with a lawyer to determine if you should file a Workers’ Compensation claim, a third-party liability claim, or both. Should you decide to proceed with a claim, the evidence-gathering phase will be vital to your case. A third-party lawsuit can be filed in court if a settlement cannot be reached.

How Can Construction Accidents Be Prevented?

Prevention is key to eliminating construction accidents. If your position requires you to wear personal protective equipment, you should follow those safety protocols. Also, be aware of your surroundings at all times, and keep an eye out for approaching vehicles, uneven surfaces, and holes in the ground. 

Proper training is also essential for construction site workers. Not knowing how to properly use equipment is dangerous. If you feel that the site you are working on is unsafe, point it out to a supervisor as soon as possible.

Delaware Construction Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Offer Trusted Legal Guidance to Injured Construction Workers

If you were injured on a construction site while working, you may need help with your Workers’ Compensation claim. Our Delaware construction accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can assist if you are having problems with your claim. Call us at 302-427-9500 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

hard hat

Why is Hard Hat Safety Important on the Work Site?

Hard hat safety refers to procedures on the worksite intended to limit the risk of serious work injuries. Hard hats are a part of many construction site projects as well as many other jobs that involve hazards.

Hard hat use is common in a variety of workplaces today, but their use actually goes back to the early 20th century. Protective headwear was used during the construction of the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge. Hard hats were so successful that they began appearing in many other types of work sites, like mining operations and shipyards. It was not long before hard hats became a standard part of workplace safety procedures throughout the United States. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) now mandates the use of hard hats for anyone working in areas where objects may fall and in other dangerous environments.

Hard hats can protect against a variety of potential injuries. Environments like construction sites can cause injuries due to heavy falling objects. Construction accidents can be caused by power tools and heavy machinery as well, and a hard hat can prevent serious work injuries. Worksites that involve electrical risks can also cause injuries or death if employees are not wearing proper safety equipment. Hard hats are a necessity for many employees.

Hard Hat Design and Components

Hard hats consist of two important safety considerations. The shell is the hard part that protects the head from injury. The suspension is the strap or another adjustable component that secures the shell to the wearer’s head. Without both of these components in place and properly functioning, the hard hat cannot do its job properly, and the health of the employee is at risk.

What are the Different Types of Hard Hats?

Hard hats come in a variety of types that are divided into classes that help to identify their purpose. Hard hats are designed for a range of safety issues, such as direct blows to the head and even electrical currents.

Common types of hard hats include:

Type I: Hats designed to protect the wearer from falling objects and other types of impact from above. These hats are specifically focused on protecting the top of the head and offer less protection to the sides and back. Hard hats have different types and classes to help identify what they are designed to protect wearers against.

Type II: This variety is focused more on protecting the wearer from blows and objects from the side or laterally. They are designed to offer protection to the front, back, side, and top of the head. To achieve this level of protection, they undergo extensive testing. Safety testing ensures that they are properly aligned for chin strap retention and that they offer solid off-center penetration resistance.

Common classes of hard hat include:

Class E: Specifically designed for electrical resistance, these hats can hold up to 20,000 volts of electricity.

Class G: As somewhat of a hybrid, this class offers protection from impact while also being designed to withstand up to 2,200 volts of electricity.

Class C: This is the basic hard hat class that offers protection from impact but no protection from electric shock.

What are the Risks Associated with Improper Hard Hat Use?

Hard hat safety requires proper use. If an employee wears a hard hat but does not have it properly secured, they are at increased risk of injury. The same goes for employees who decide to wear a ballcap or other unapproved type of headgear under their hard hat. Any use that interferes with the ability of the hard hat to offer protection can result in severe injuries or death.

Employees on a dangerous job site have certain responsibilities for their safety as well as that of their co-workers. Typically, worksites that require hard hats will have posted regulations, and those without proper safety gear may not be allowed on the site at all.

What Should I Do After a Workplace Injury?

After a workplace accident, it is important to document the incidence, and report the event as clearly as possible. When an injury occurs at the worksite, the employee needs to know their rights and may benefit from consulting a lawyer for help with Workers’ Compensation.

Bear DE Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Employees Navigate Complex Legal Issues Surrounding Workplace Safety

Hard hat safety is important on many worksites, but some injuries are unpreventable. If you have been injured on the job, one of our skilled Bear DE Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow is available to help. For a free consultation, call us at 302-834-8484 or complete our online form. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

safety helmets hard hats

Differences Between Safety Helmets and Hard Hats

Traditionally, hard hats were allocated to construction sites to protect workers from falling objects and to protect themselves in other potential construction accidents. Safety helmets were used by bicyclists, motorcyclists, and in other sports. The lines became blurred as safety technologies advanced and newer models were replaced. Nowadays, old-fashioned hard hats are articles of the past.

The Hard Hat Makeover

The evolution of the hard hat began a century ago when shipbuilders wanted to protect their heads from falling objects. The first stage was shipbuilders covering their regular hats with tar. In later years, protective hats were made from steamed canvas, aluminum, steel, leather, plastic, and fiberglass. Today, the most common element used is polyethylene. Some hard hats come with visors, lights, face shields, radios, and ventilation. The next stage was evolving standard construction safety helmets.

Modern Safety Helmets

Helmets are generally used to protect someone’s head when operating objects such as bikes, ATVs, and skateboards. They are also worn by outdoor sports aficionados and rescue workers. Outdoor enthusiasts normally attach helmets closer to their head with chin straps; these helmets typically do not have brims. Newer features of safety helmets may include Hi Viz materials, ear protection, and attachable visors.

Construction hard hats have remained the same over the past 40 years, but Bloomberg BNA claims that this is changing. Bloomberg BNA recently posted designs of helmets for construction workers. These helmets were originally designed for mountain climbing and other outdoor sports. The main reason for this is so that helmets have better side impact protection and do not fall off during impact. The safety director of Skanska USA Commercial Development, explained that a hard hat may fall off when a worker falls and jerks their head.

Head Protection Categories

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) classifies head protection into different classes and types. These classifications also coincide with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). OSHA also requires that employers provide head safety gear that meets or exceeds industry standards. Each class indicates protection from an electrical accident and each type indicates the protection level from an impact. The following are three different classes provided by OSHA:

  • Class C or Conductive: No protection from electricity.
  • Class G or General: Provides protection up to 2,200 volts.
  • Class E or Electrical: Provides protection up to 20,000 volts.

The following are two types of helmets that are classified by the OSHA:

  • ANSI Type I Helmets: These helmets reduce the force of impact to the top of the head.
  • ANSI Type II Helmets: These helmets reduce the force of impact to the side or top of the head.

Pros and Cons of Construction Helmets

Understandably, modern construction helmets have pros and cons. The helmets provide security from side impacts with a lifespan up to 10 years; helmets are also more stable with chin straps. However, they can be costly, prices range from 100 dollars to 150 dollars each. In contrast, hard hats average around 15 dollars with some models feeling too heavy on the head. Another barrier is a worker’s preference. Hard hats have a long association with construction workers and many workers may not want to change the traditional appearance and feel of standard hard hats.

Wilmington Work Injury Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Support Construction Accident Sufferers

If you were injured in a construction accident while at work, you may be eligible for compensation. Our devoted Wilmington work injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow support workers who have suffered injuries from a construction accident. Contact us online or call us at 302-427-9500 for a free consultation about your case. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, we also represent clients in Elsmere and Seaford, Delaware.

Top Lawyer Delaware
DTLA
AAJ
WILG