Some construction jobs are obviously dangerous. Workers perched on high beams or scaffolding, operating heavy equipment, or working with explosives are clearly at risk of being injured if something goes wrong. It might surprise you to learn that, along with high-rise construction, demolition, and highway work, one of the construction jobs with the most accidents each year is sewer and duct work. These workers are almost invisible on construction sites as they work in tunnels below ground and in building ventilation systems, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t exposed to on-the-job dangers.
As construction accident attorneys in New York, we represent injured workers in personal injury lawsuits and claims under New York labor laws. Contact us if you were seriously injured while doing sewer or duct work on a construction site.
Accidents That Can Happen in Sewer and Duct Construction
Any number of things can go wrong when you are doing sewer or duct work in a small, confined spaces. Some of the accidents that happen on a daily basis on construction sites across the country include the following:
- Cave-ins or collapses of trenches or excavations. Workers can be trapped or buried under soil, rocks, or debris while working in trenches or excavations.
- Falls into excavations or manholes. Insufficient guarding or unprotected edges can lead to workers falling into open excavations or manholes, causing injuries.
- Exposure to hazardous gases. Sewer and duct workers can encounter toxic or asphyxiating gases, such as hydrogen sulfide or methane, which can lead to serious health issues or even fatalities.
- Confined-space accidents. Working in confined spaces like sewer lines or ducts poses risks of asphyxiation, engulfment, or exposure to hazardous substances.
- Struck-by incidents. Workers may be struck by heavy equipment, vehicles, falling objects, or moving machinery on the construction site.
- Machinery-related accidents. Operating or working near machinery and equipment can result in amputations, crush injuries, or entanglement hazards.
- Chemical exposures. Sewer and duct workers may come into contact with harmful chemicals, including corrosive substances or sewer gases, leading to burns, respiratory problems, or other health issues.
- Electrical hazards. Working in close proximity to electrical systems or exposed wiring can increase the risk of electrocution or electrical burns.
- Slips, trips, and falls. Uneven surfaces, debris, or slippery conditions can cause workers to slip, trip, or fall, resulting in injuries.
- Heat-related illnesses. Working in confined spaces or under high temperatures can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or other heat-related illnesses if proper precautions are not taken.
These accidents occur when workplace safety regulations are violated, and co-workers are careless or negligent. If you are involved in one of these kinds of accidents, you could suffer serious and debilitating injuries.
Injuries Resulting From Confined-Space Accidents
Sewer and duct construction workers face the possibility of sustaining a life-changing and potentially fatal injury when they are in an accident. Common injuries include:
- Crush injuries. Workers may sustain severe crush injuries when caught between heavy machinery or equipment, such as excavators or backhoes, and solid structures.
- Amputations. Accidents involving machinery or equipment with rotating or cutting components can result in traumatic amputations of limbs or extremities.
- Chemical burns. Exposure to hazardous chemicals, such as hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, can cause serious chemical burns on the skin, eyes, or lungs.
- Respiratory illnesses. Inhalation of toxic gases or harmful substances in confined spaces or poorly ventilated areas can lead to severe respiratory illnesses, including lung damage or chemical pneumonitis.
- Falls from heights. Working on elevated structures, such as sewer lines or ducts, puts workers at risk of falling, which can result in serious injuries, including fractures, spinal cord injuries, or head trauma.
- Electrical shocks. Contact with live wires or electrical equipment in wet or hazardous environments can cause electric shocks, leading to electrocutions and associated injuries or fatalities.
If your injuries are serious enough to require emergency medical treatment, hospitalization, surgery, and significant time off work, you want to be sure you get the compensation you will need to cover medical bills and lost wages. If your loved one was killed on a construction site, you deserve wrongful death compensation for your loss. Unfortunately, you cannot rely on the employer to give you what your claim is worth. You will need an attorney on your side.