What are the greatest risks to construction workers?

An average day on the job for most construction workers in Sacramento and elsewhere is filled with dangers, not only due to the physical nature of the work, but also to often hidden jobsite hazards. Workers in the construction and transportation industries face a much higher risk of serious injury than most other occupations, even when safety protocols are in place.

The most common workplace risks to construction workers include injury due to:

  • unsafe equipment
  • falling objects
  • electrocution
  • falls
  • chemical exposure

Although California worker’s compensation insurance is quite comprehensive, there are monetary caps on benefits that an injured worker can receive, and the insurance does not cover pain and suffering.

What causes the most common workplace fatalities in construction?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 20% of all job site fatalities in the private sector happened in the construction industry in 2018. The leading cause of death in the construction industry was from falls, which caused one third of all fatalities that year. Hidden workplace hazards often include poorly secured scaffolding, unmarked or concealed holes, or gaps.

After falls, the other three most common hazards resulting in death to construction workers are electrocution, equipment or an object striking a worker, or being caught in machinery or crushed under a collapsed structure or equipment. Called the “fatal four”, these hazards account for over half of all construction worker deaths.

Will worker’s compensation cover all of my expenses?

California worker’s compensation covers claims for medical, dental and hospital care, medications, and nursing care as well as rehabilitative treatment and equipment such as crutches, hearing aids and orthopedic devices. There are caps, however, on damages, and worker’s comp shields the employer from personal injury claims.

When an individual’s worker’s compensation insurance denies a claim, it is because the claims administrator believes that the injury is not covered under worker’s compensation. You have a right to challenge that decision. When there is disagreement over a claim or the course of treatment, there is usually an independent medical review process.

The appeals process addressing the denial of the claim will involve a hearing before a judge, also called a mandatory settlement conference (MSC), at which the judge will try to assist a settlement. If the MSC does not resolve the issue, the judge will schedule a trial at which the claimant must provide detailed documentation of the nature of the injury, diagnosis and treatment, as well as witnesses and expert testimony to support the evidence.