Carpentry is one of the many skilled jobs necessary to complete a building project, with large construction firms employing whole teams of carpenters on each site. As carpenters are needed on all levels and at all stages of building, it is no surprise that these workers are at high risk of on-the-job injuries. If you perform carpentry work in New York City, you should be aware of the specific hazards that carpenters face—and what to do if you suffer an injury on a construction site.
Common Injuries Carpenters Suffer on Construction Sites
While anyone can suffer an injury at work, construction employees are much more likely to have an accident as well as suffer severe effects of an injury. If you are hurt on the job, you should not have to pay for your own medical care and suffer a loss of income while you are unable to work—especially if an employer or property owner could have done more to prevent your injuries.
Some of the most common injuries carpenters will suffer each year include:
- Knee injuries. Carpenters often suffer from stiff joints, pain in their knees, or occupational arthritis due to a repetitive strain injury. Jobs in tight spaces require work at awkward angles, including squatting or kneeling at ground level for long periods of time. As a result, many carpenters suffer from prepatellar bursitis (commonly known as carpenter’s knee), a condition that causes a severely swollen and tender kneecap. Kneepads or kneeling benches may ease the pain in the carpenter’s knee and even prevent the condition from reoccurring.
- Back injuries. Carpentry demands a high level of physical labor and flexibility, with daily duties including lifting large pieces of lumber and installing fixtures. While many construction sites are equipped with mechanical load assistance (such as cranes or hand trucks), workers must still use the correct lifting techniques to unload these materials. Even if a carpenter is able to avoid slipped discs or compressed nerves from repetitive motion, he or she is at risk of sudden trauma to the spine in a slip or fall on a construction site.
- Eye injuries. Carpenters are routinely exposed to flying debris such as sawdust, splinters, metal shavings, or sand from grinding tools. Eye protection (such as goggles or face shields) is vital for preventing these kinds of injuries, and should be used whenever workers are using drills, sanders, or other machinery. Deadly projectiles such as propelled staples or nails could cause temporary loss of sight or leave carpenters blind in one or both eyes.
- Hand and finger injuries. Power tools and machinery pose a number of injury risks, but hand and finger injuries are by far the most common. These accidents may involve sudden injuries (such as pinching or trapping fingers in a mechanism) or repetitive strain from performing the same movements over and over again (such as pressing the trigger on a drill). Employers can reduce these injuries by providing gloves and personal protective equipment (PPE), ensuring that safeguards are enabled on all machines, and ensure that workers rotate tasks and are properly trained.
- Fatal injuries. Unfortunately, many carpenters are killed each year as a result of work-related injuries. Falls from scaffolding, ladders, or another height are the leading cause of death from work injuries, while others suffer a traumatic brain injury as a result of being struck by falling debris. If someone you love has been killed on a New York construction site, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible to determine who may be liable for your family’s increased costs and pain and suffering.
In addition to claiming workers’ compensation for your work-related injuries, you may be able to recover damages through an injury lawsuit. Our construction injury attorneys will work to get you the compensation you are owed, and we do not collect any fees until after your case is won. Simply fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today, or read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.