All construction workers face risks that are inherent to their jobs. As a New York mason contractor, it is important for you to know about the general hazards faced by all construction workers on your site—but it’s even more important that you know about the specific activities that could pose the greatest threat to you.
The Five Biggest Risks Facing Masons on Construction Sites
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), New York State is home to the greatest number of masons and bricklayers in the United States, with over half of them working in the New York City metropolitan area. As with most jobs in the construction industry, a mason’s risk of injury and illness is much higher than the national average, especially if workers are not properly trained on accident prevention.
Whether you are new to the job or you have been working as a mason for decades, your health and safety is most at risk when performing one of the following activities:
- Work on scaffolding. Falls to a lower level (such as from scaffolding or ladders) are the leading cause of death and catastrophic injuries among bricklayers and masons. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set many regulations to reduce these incidents, such as requiring fall protection systems for any mason performing overhand bricklaying six feet above lower levels or reaching more than 10 inches below the work surface. To protect employees from being struck by falling debris from scaffolding, OSHA requires that employers install toeboards, screens, and debris nets, as well as impose mandatory hard hat rules for all employees.
- Wall bracing. OSHA requires bracing on all masonry walls over eight feet tall that are not otherwise supported, even if the wall contains reinforcing steel (rebar). If the employer does not ensure that walls can withstand all normally expected forces (such as wind pressure, the weight of workers, and building loads), the wall may overturn or collapse onto workers beneath. Masons attempting to brace a wall or remove braces upon completion may suffer crush injuries, including compression of their hands, fingers, or limbs that requires amputation.
- Working near forklifts. Masons are often injured when unloading pallets of bricks or when building materials are lifted to heights using heavy equipment. Falls from elevated pallets and tines are unfortunately common, whether an elevated worker falls or building materials spill from the tines onto workers below.
- Work around silica. Masons share all the exposure risks of hazardous substances as their fellow construction workers, but they are also prone to exposure to silica. These tiny particles present in mortar, granite, and concrete can cause inflammation and scarring in the lungs, resulting in chronic chest pain and breathing problems that can last for the rest of a worker’s life.
- Repetitive strain injury. A traumatic injury can occur on a single day at work, or it can accumulate through millions of tiny movements over the course of a worker’s career. Bricklayers can lift and place over a thousand bricks per day, all through repeated bending, holding, pinching, lifting, squatting, kneeling and twisting. If these workers are not given regular rest breaks or personal protective equipment, they may suffer painful musculoskeletal injuries in their shoulders, necks, backs, knees, and wrists.
If you’ve been hurt on a New York construction site, you should not have to pay for your own medical care and suffer because you are unable to work. In addition to claiming workers’ compensation, you may be able to recover damages for your work-related injuries. 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.