Working in can construction can be a dangerous job. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), construction has the most fatal occupational injuries out of all industries in the United States. Construction workers face a wide range of hazards each morning when they arrive on their job sites. These include everything from burns from fires, getting struck by objects and materials, fall accidents, exposure to contaminants and trench collapses.
In Pennsylvania, the good news is that most employees are covered by the Workers’ Compensation system. In fact, unless you are employed by the federal government, a railroad, or in another industry where a federal benefits program or other exception applies, you are covered by the system. Under Pennsylvania law, employers are required to provide Workers’ Compensation benefits for full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees. Furthermore, even employers with just a single employee are generally required to provide Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Injuries sustained by construction workers can range from mild to fatal, but even mild injuries can be disabling and career-threatening. Something as minor as a broken wrist can keep a construction worker off the job and prevent them from bringing money home to their families. Our Philadelphia construction accident lawyers understand how important your needs are. If you have suffered an injury at work or developed an occupational disease, the Workers’ Compensation attorneys of Lerner, Steinberg & Associates may be able to help. We can fight for injured workers so they can focus on their recovery. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with a Philadelphia construction accident lawyer, please call our Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation firm at 1-(215) 355-6400 today.
Types of Accidents and Injuries Common on Construction Sites in Philadelphia
Construction workers may encounter a variety of accidents on their job sites. This list is in no way exhaustive, but covers some of the most common types of accidents on construction sites.
According to the Occupational Health Safety Administration (OSHA), falls are the leading cause of construction site accidents resulting in injury or death. Any worker who is six feet or more above ground level is especially vulnerable to a fall accident. Many falls are preventable as long as employers are complying with OSHA guidelines. Under OSHA, employers are required to provide appropriate safety equipment as well as gear to prevent fall accidents. Not only must contractors provide working conditions free of known dangers, they must also install any railings, floor-hole covers, safety nets, etc. necessary to protect workers from a fall.
Though electricity has become such a familiar and essential part of our daily surroundings, it sometimes is not given the resect deserving of the hazard it truly is. Electrical accidents like shocks and burns can be severe and threatening to a construction worker’s career. OSHA requires that employees not work near any part of an electrical power circuit unless protected. The most frequent causes of electrical injuries include:
- Contact with Power Lines
- Lack of Ground-fault Protection
- Path to Ground Missing or Discontinuous
- Equipment Not Used in Manner Prescribed
- Improper Use of Extension and Flexible Cords
Excavation and Trenches
Excavation work can be especially dangerous due to the chance of a trench collapsing and burying workers. As little as one cubic yard of soil (i.e., 2000 pounds) is enough to seriously injure a construction worker. OSHA provides specific guidelines for preventing trenching injuries, such as soil analysis in order to determine appropriate sloping, benching and shoring to prevent soil failure. Trenching workers are also at risk for injury from traffic crashes and construction machinery overturns. Most injuries and deaths could be avoided by adhering to the proper shoring and sloping safety standards provided by OSHA.
What Types of Benefits Can I Get Under the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Workers Compensation System?
Fortunately, there is relief for construction workers injured on the job under the Workers’ Compensation system. Workers can claim a variety of benefits to help provide for their medical care and household expenses. These benefits include:
- Wage replacement benefits– Workers can receive wage replacement benefits based on their average weekly wage. Certain caps on benefits and a floor will apply.
- Death benefits – If a loved one was killed on the job, there is a high likelihood that death benefits will be available. Death benefits can help stabilize a household during an extremely trying, difficult time. The exact benefits and level of payments you may be entitled to receive are dependent upon the unique facts and circumstances present in your situation.
- Medical benefits– Workers who are injured can receive benefit payments to cover their medical costs. These benefits will cover doctor visits, hospital bills, and physical therapy.
- Specific loss benefits – If you have lost the use of an arm, leg, eye, or another body part you are likely eligible for specific loss benefits. There is a schedule for specific loss benefits which can help guide an individual regarding the amount of benefit award they can expect.
When to Make a Workers’ Compensation Claim for a Construction Injury
Under Section 301 of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, an injury is compensable when it is connected to the individual’s occupation and occurred during the course or within the scope of their workplace duties. Even if you are partially responsible for your injuries, it is likely that you will be able to obtain benefits. Similarly, if you were injured on a break or at lunch, there is still a reasonable possibility that you will be able to receive benefits. However, it is wise to consult with an attorney to gain a complete understanding regarding whether you are likely to receive compensation based on the facts and circumstances of your scenario.
The exact benefits and level of payments you may be entitled to receive are dependent upon the unique facts and circumstances present in your situation. To gain a better understanding regarding the type and level of benefits you may qualify to receive, please contact a Workers’ Compensation lawyer.
Our Workers Compensation Attorneys Can Help if You Were Injured on a Philadelphia Construction Site
Construction workers put themselves at risk on a daily basis to get the job done. If you are injured on the job, it is essential to act quickly. Don’t hesitate to seek help from a law firm that has experience with handling construction site injury and wrongful death cases, including cases in which a worker’s compensation is at stake.
For over 20 years, the personal injury lawyers of Lerner, Steinberg & Associates have helped injured construction workers and their families in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania to seek the justice and compensation they deserved. We can review your Philadelphia construction accident case today. Contact us for a free and confidential consultation at (215) 355-6400.