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Beyond Physical Injuries: Understanding and Addressing Long-Term Health Effects in Construction Workers’ Compensation

Construction workers frequently suffer from health issues that are beyond visible injuries. 

These hidden challenges, which are often overlooked, can have long-term impacts on their well-being. 

From respiratory issues to stress-related concerns, the list is extensive. 

While Workers’ Compensation supports short-term injuries, hidden issues are often left out.  

Construction site accident attorneys in Indianapolis can help employees deal with long-term injuries in construction workers’ compensation. Top of Form

Keep reading to know more about the topic. 

Types of Injuries on Construction Sites

Construction workers face various job risks. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), common causes of injuries on construction sites include:

1. Falling from heights

Workers might fall from buildings, scaffolding, or machinery or into holes or ditches on the site.

2. Electric shock

Working with generators, power tools, and electrical wiring puts workers at risk of electrical burns.

3. Trench collapse

A collapsing trench can cut off a worker’s air supply, leading to burial or crushing injuries.

4. Lack of protective gear

Wearing essential safety gear like hard hats and safety glasses helps prevent injuries on the site.

5. Repetitive motion injuries

Doing the same tasks repeatedly can wear down muscles and tissues, causing pain and limiting mobility.

6. Collapsed scaffolding

Despite strict safety rules, scaffolding mishaps can cause workers to fall or sustain serious injuries.

Common Injuries with Construction Workers

Injuries on construction sites can include:

  • Electrocution
  • Burns
  • Fractured bones
  • Eye injuries, leading to vision problems or blindness
  • Injuries to the knees and ankles
  • Neck, shoulder, or back injuries
  • Illnesses from exposure to harmful chemicals
  • Spinal cord injuries, potentially causing paraplegia or quadriplegia
  • Head injuries and/or brain injuries

Long-Term Health Effects

Long-term injuries commonly seen in construction workers include:

1. Back pain

About one-third of construction workers endure chronic back pain due to frequent lifting, pushing, pulling, and bending. 

Back injuries are more common in construction than in all other industries combined. Proper training and access to suitable tools are crucial in minimizing the risk.

2. Repetitive stress injuries

These injuries result from repeated motions or prolonged use of hand tools, causing the breakdown of soft tissues like ligaments and tendons. 

Common types include tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and hand-arm vibration syndrome. Prevention involves using ergonomic techniques, taking breaks, and seeking early treatment.

3. Hearing loss

Construction sites are noisy, and despite safety regulations, 50% of workers experience some permanent hearing loss.

4. Toxic exposure

Chemical, dust, and toxin exposure can lead to health issues like lung cancer, with construction workers having a 50% higher rate. Dangers include,

  • Manganese-related neurological damage
  • Lead poisoning
  • Methylene chloride causing cancer and other problems
  • Carbon monoxide leads to cognitive issues

What is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is insurance that gives cash benefits and medical care to workers who get sick or injured because of their jobs. 

While Workers’ Compensation provides immediate support for job-related illnesses or injuries, it often falls short of addressing long-term health effects among construction workers. 

The system may not provide enough long-term medical care or address lasting chronic conditions. This leaves workers without complete solutions for ongoing health challenges. 

A workers’ compensation lawyer can help in this process. They guide workers through the process to ensure fair compensation for sustained health issues.

How A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help?

Here’s how a workers’ compensation lawyer can help construction workers deal with long-term health effects:

1. Expertise in workers’ compensation laws

Workers’ compensation lawyers possess deep knowledge of the intricate laws related to compensation. Their expertise ensures that construction workers are fully informed about their rights and eligible benefits under these legal provisions.

2. Navigating complex claim processes

Construction workers facing long-term health effects may find the claims process overwhelming. A lawyer can simplify the complexities, ensuring proper documentation and adherence to timelines.

3. Advocacy for comprehensive medical care

Workers’ compensation may fall short of providing extended medical care. Lawyers advocate for construction workers, negotiating for comprehensive healthcare coverage to address long-term health challenges.

4. Securing fair compensation for lost wages

Construction workers experiencing long-term effects may suffer income loss. A workers’ compensation lawyer fights to secure fair compensation, considering the impact on present and future earnings.

5. Appealing denied claims

If a workers’ compensation claim is denied, lawyers can navigate the appeals process. They can help present a compelling case to ensure construction workers receive the benefits they deserve.

6. Addressing third-party liability

If third-party liability contributes to long-term health issues, a workers’ compensation lawyer can explore legal options beyond the workers’ compensation system. This involves holding responsible parties accountable for their role in the worker’s health challenges.

7. Providing emotional support

Dealing with long-term health effects can be emotionally taxing. Workers’ compensation lawyers offer support and guidance, helping construction workers navigate the challenging journey toward fair compensation and resolution. 

Conclusion

Understanding the risks construction workers face is important to safeguard their health. While Workers’ Compensation helps with immediate injuries, long-term health effects often require more advocacy. Workers’ compensation lawyers play a key role in this process. They offer expertise and help employees with the complicated process of seeking fair compensation.