Construction worker using a jackhammer

Most Common Accidents in the UK Construction Industry

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With around 2 million people working in the construction industry it’s no wonder that when an accident at work occurs, the injuries are often serious or even fatal.

We explain your rights as a worker, your safety rights, safety and protective equipment, and the top causes of construction and building site related accidents and injuries.

Your Rights as a Worker

An employer has a duty to all its employees on their construction sites to keep them safe and to ensure that all walkways are appropriately guarded and where scaffolding is in place to ensure that there is a safe access/egress route from the site.

However accidents do from time to time occur and maybe a ladder which is incorrectly secured or has come loose causes a fall and an injury. If this happens to you it may initially be the case that the last thing you are thinking of is making a claim for your injuries but when the reality of your injury becomes apparent and you are aware that you may need to take time off from work without receiving any pay to recover from your injuries you may well reconsider making a personal injury claim.

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Your Safety Rights

Your employer is responsible for your health and safety whilst you are on a construction or building site whether they are the main contractor or not, and they are required by law to keep you reasonably safe whilst you are in their employment.

Safety & Protective Equipment

Whilst working in construction your employer has a duty to keep you safe and to provide you with personal protective equipment. This may vary from site to site but would generally consist of high visibility clothing, steel toe capped boots and hard hats, dependent on the nature of your work knee pads ear defenders, face masks and back supports are also commonly provided protective equipment.

Common Types of Construction Accidents

Falls from Height

The most common type of work accident is when a worker falls from a ladder or scaffolding which can cause injuries such as broken bones, fractures, back injuries and head injuries.

Falling Objects

You may be working on a construction site when an object is dropped onto you from above without any warning or the ability on your part to move out of the way. A falling object can cause an injury which makes it impossible for you to continue working. Injuries can vary from minor cuts and bruises to serious crush injuries and head or brain injuries.

Tripping Hazards

In the construction industry hazards in the workplace are numerous, a further hazard to consider is the hazard of tripping over cables or falling into holes in the ground that have been created as part of the construction/building process.

Defective Equipment

If your employer provides you with power tools to allow you to complete your job then they are responsible for keeping that work equipment in a good working order and for carrying out repairs to the equipment should it become defective. In the event that the work equipment becomes defective and as a result of that defect you are injured your employer would be liable for the defective equipment and responsible to compensate you for your injuries.

Construction Vehicle Accidents

Whilst working in the construction industry provision must be made for vehicles and pedestrians so that they can circulate in a safe manner if pedestrians and vehicles come into conflict then no doubt injury to one or both parties would occur and in this scenario again there would no doubt be fault on the part of the employer.

Excessive Noise and/or Vibrating Tool Hazards

Noise and vibrating tools are also a cause for concern whilst working in the construction industry as excessive noise from power tools can cause hearing loss or problems such as tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

Your employer has a duty to check for excessive noise and where possible to reduce the level of noise or the length of time you are exposed to excessive noise whilst on site. If your employer cannot do this they are required to provide protective equipment such as ear defenders and to ensure that you are wearing the personal protective equipment (PPE) that they have provided.

The vibration from power tools can cause nerve and tendon damage to the hands, arms and wrists which if experienced can be extremely debilitating with reduction and sometimes total loss of grip strength. If you believe you are experiencing symptoms from the use of vibrating power tools it is important that you seek early medical advice to allow medical intervention to reduce any symptoms of hand arm vibration syndrome that you may have.

Exposure to Chemicals

Contact with chemicals or irritants can occur either through inhaling gasses or substances such as carbon monoxide or asbestos dust. Some of these irritants can have devastating consequences on your health and life.

If you consider that any of the items discussed in the article affect you please contact one of our Personal Injury Solicitors for a free consultation.

This information was originally published on our website on 11/12/2012.

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