Every job has its risks, and even those who work at a desk all day may suffer an illness or injury related to their employment. However, you cannot argue that certain jobs carry risks that may place your very life on the line. For those jobs, it is critical that employers comply with all safety laws and policies, including providing you with adequate training, frequent safety reminders and appropriate personal protection equipment.
The most recent reports show that, while the overall rate of fatal injuries on the job is on the rise, nonfatal injuries seem to be on the decline in most industries except construction. If you work in construction, you should know that you still have a very high risk of suffering an injury that may cost you days off work and may result in long-term disability.
Jobs that expose you to injury
Nonfatal injuries in construction still rank about 29% higher than in all other industries. This includes all subsectors of construction, such as framing, flooring, concrete work and electricity. Accidents involving road and bridge construction occur less frequently than those involving commercial building construction. However, residential construction workers suffer the most injuries of all. The most common kinds of nonfatal accidents include the following:
- Struck-by other equipment, including heavy equipment as well as smaller tools
- Slipping, tripping and falling, especially falls from a higher to a lower level
- Overexertion and injuries due to intense physical activity or repetitive action
- Transportation accidents, usually not including your trip to and from work
- Exposure to toxic substances
- Explosions and fires
- Acts of violence
Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance typically covers an injury on the job. This coverage provides injured employees with a portion of their lost wages, medical treatment and certain other expenses related to the accident. Workers’ compensation also provides financial support if you suffer a temporary or permanent disability because of a workplace accident, and it pays death benefits to the spouse and children of a worker who dies from injuries suffered on the job.
While most construction workers in West Virginia qualify for workers’ compensation coverage, sometimes a construction injury is the result of a third party, such as a negligent subcontractor or a defective piece of equipment. Additionally, an employer whose reckless actions lead to a construction accident may also carry some liability. These kinds of cases may involve additional compensation that you can pursue through the civil courts.