Ironworkers suffer numerous injuries while on the job. A search on the OSHA website reveals over 350 reported ironworker construction accidents. The injuries on record with OSHA vary from debilitating (a crushed foot), to disabling (a fractured hip), to deadly (a fatal fall through metal decking).
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, ironworkers rate among the top ten most dangerous jobs in the United States. In 2005, iron and steel workers suffered 47 deaths for every 100,000 workers. Indeed, an ironworker is the most likely of all trade workers to be injured on a construction site.
In 2016, the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers continued a campaign to “Countdown to Zero” ironworker fatalities in the U.S. As a result of their safety and awareness commitment, 7 lives have been saved as of October (compared to the 2007-15 average). But despite unions’ vigilance, 4 lost workers are also memorialized on the page.
As with many construction workers, ironworkers work in an environment with a lot of risk for injury. Ironworkers often work on buildings many stories up, and a fall from scaffolding can cause severe injury or even death. Dropped and falling objects from overhead can also strike a worker, inflicting wounds and sometimes even brain injury.
A Danger Below: Scaffolding Falls
Ironworkers enable our most awe-inspiring buildings to scrape the skies. Unsurprisingly, though, working at such great heights also creates the terrible risk that one can suffer an equally great fall.
In 2016, one 30-year veteran Ironworking union member of who fell 40 feet to his death while building a Logan Airport garage last year, was reportedly the second ironworker to die from injuries sustained on that job-site. One year earlier, a 24-year-old ironworker (Local 433) from a Pasadena office building. This year, Walter Lenkowski III, a fourth-generation ironworker (Local 399) fell nearly 140 feet from a rail bridge. According to the most recent news, this last fall is, reportedly, under investigation.
Where employers failed to provide safety harnesses, provided the wrong type of harnesses or safety equipment, or advised improper and unsafe protocols for tying off or onsite safety, they are liable for the injuries which workers sustain as a result. In addition to being responsible for medical bills and disability resulting from such catastrophic falls, an employer may also be responsible for pain, suffering, and lost wages.
A Danger Above: Falling Objects
In addition to dangerous drops to the ground below, ironworkers may also suffer injuries from dropped tools, broken scaffolding, and building structures, or other construction materials falling from above.
In mid-2016 a member of Local Ironworkers 222 was killed by being struck in the head by a catwalk when a rigging device failed. Earlier in the year, a Nebraska ironworker was hit by a 500-pound steel beam at a zoo construction site but luckily lived.
Construction sites are undoubtedly dangerous places, and workers should be alert to falling objects. But where an employer has created the hazard, employees should not suffer. If the management disregarded employee safety, did not supply workers with proper sheathes or safety equipment, or provided dangerous or defective equipment, rigging gear, or products without proper safety labels, they are likely liable for the injury which results.
Other Construction Injuries
As if dangers lurking above and below weren’t enough risk, ironworkers may also suffer from any number of other on-the-job construction accidents which can injure workers, including: heavy machinery accidents and electrical accidents. If you have questions about these or other construction injuries, please visit our Construction Accidents Page.
Ironworker Construction Lawsuits
If you or a loved one has been hurt while doing an ironworking job, you likely need a knowledgeable attorney. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate the workers’ compensation process, assess whether a construction lawsuit is appropriate, and help you get the compensation you need.
Recently, a third generation ironworker was awarded $64 million for a fall which left him paralyzed, resulting from a contractors failure to provide safety cables.
What Should I Do If I, Or a Co-Worker, Get Injured?
First, ensure your immediate health and safety, and seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you require emergency medical care, call 911. Even if the injuries do not require immediate attention, be sure to inform the onsite foreman or supervisor – who may recommend medical treatment. Take pictures of the scene and the injury. Get contact information of any person who saw the accident. Be sure to keep detailed notes of the event and keep all receipts or invoices for medical care, medical supplies, or even any over-the-counter supplies you purchase for your injuries.
Not Injured, But Concerned About Construction Site Safety?
After celebrating 40,000 injury-free man-hours without any ironworker injuries, an Antioch, CA construction manager shared their secrets. He credited their success to creating a “culture of safety,” with attention to “cleanliness” and a weekly “job hazard analysis” of what injuries might arise from the next set of jobs, and how to avoid them. This advice is a mmust-read for any site management.
You can also file a complaint with the Division of Occupational Safety and Health to report any site safety concerns you may have. Unless you opt to have your name disclosed, your confidentiality is fully protected when you file a complaint.
Free Consultation: Contact Us Now
If you are an ironworker who has suffered an injury on the job, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain, suffering, disability, medical expenses, and lost wages.
At Cutter Law, we specialize in personal injury and complex civil cases resulting from onsite construction accidents. Our expert team of attorneys will work to get you every penny that you deserve.
Do not hesitate to talk to a member of our expert personal injury team today for a free consultation by calling us at 888-285-3333.