Common Construction Site Injuries

Common Construction Site Injuries

A report released by The Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that over 9 million Americans worked in the construction industry in 2014. Unfortunately, construction frequently lands on lists of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S. In fact, one in five fatalities that occurred on the job in 2014 took place on a construction site. We’ll discuss which injuries are most common in this line of work and what workers can do if they experience an injury on a job site.

Common Construction Site Injuries

Each day, almost six and a half million construction workers head to over 250,000 sites across the country. Working in construction involves manual labor and the use of a variety of hand and power tools. Although the specific tasks can vary, workers might clear and prepare sites for new builds, build bridges, create trenches, set up support braces or scaffolding, operate heavy equipment, pave roads, demolish existing structures and clean up debris and rubble. The dangerous nature of these tasks makes construction workers particularly vulnerable to a wide range of injuries.  

Burns

Working with electrical wiring, chemicals, leaky pipes and many different types of machinery can expose construction workers to the risk of fires, which can lead to burns and scarring.

Head Injuries

The reason that you often see construction workers wearing hard hats is that injuries to this part of the body are common while on the job. Falling objects, tools and materials can lead to cuts, concussions and traumatic brain injuries, among other conditions. Workers who are involved in digging or building a structure from the ground up are particularly at risk for these types of injuries.

Spinal Cord Injuries

The activities most commonly associated with spinal cord injuries at a construction site involve falling off ladders, scaffolding or other elevated platforms or areas. Sadly, these situations can result in partial or full paralysis, damage to the brain and lasting and debilitating disabilities.

Cuts

Not surprisingly, lacerations to the skin are a common construction site injury. Some of the more common construction site hazards that can lead to cuts include defective or poorly maintained tools and machinery, equipment that is not properly secured and exposed nails. If not properly treated, these wounds can become infected, requiring further medical attention. Wearing protective clothing and gear can help reduce these types of injuries.

Bone Injuries

The use of heavy machinery can lead to broken, fractured or even crushed bones. Equipment like bulldozers and cranes can cause serious damage to workers on a construction site if used by someone with improper training. Additionally, this type of equipment can lead to accidents if not properly secured when not in use.

Loss of Limbs

Damage to a construction worker’s extremities can result in the loss of a finger, toe, arm or leg. Heavy equipment and machinery can crush these body parts. In some cases, limbs or digits are so damaged in a construction accident that amputation is required.

Hearing Loss

Construction sites are loud places. The noise generated from heavy equipment and machinery can lead to construction workers’ hearing damage or loss. Workers can experience damage when operating jackhammers and other loud equipment without ear protection or if struck on the side of the head or on the ear by an object or falling materials.

Repetitive Stress Injuries

The manual labor required in the construction industry involves repetitive motion, whether it’s lifting materials or tools or bending down. Repetitive stress injuries frequently cause back problems, which can prove to be debilitating for construction workers.

Heat Stroke

Working outside year-round can expose construction workers to heat-related health problems. A throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea and cramping can indicate that a worker is experiencing heat stroke. If an individual does not seek treatment, heat stroke can lead to organ damage and failure and eventually death.

Loss of Vision

Construction workers are exposed to a variety of chemicals, gases and other materials at job sites which can damage eyesight. In the most severe cases, exposure to these materials can lead to partial vision loss or even blindness.

Avoiding Injuries on the Job Site

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was established by Congress to set and enforce workplace safety standards and provide training. OSHA recommends that companies include all necessary safety equipment and tools when estimating the cost of a job. Workers should receive proper training in the use of all heavy machinery, equipment and protective gear. All tools should be well-maintained and in proper working condition. Regular safety inspections can spot potential problems before workers are put at risk.

What To Do If You or a Loved One is Involved in a Construction Site Accident

Damages sustained as a result of a construction site injury can be serious and long-lasting. In most cases, a victim can submit a claim under their state’s workers’ compensation program. However, in some cases, they may be eligible to seek additional compensation through a “third party claim.” These cases may involve the wrongful act of someone else, such as when a tool or machine malfunctions or if an individual is involved in a motor accident on the job.

The dedicated professionals at Slack & Davis can help advise victims on all of their options. In some situations, they may be entitled to compensation to help offset the financial loss if they are unable to resume work, if they have a lasting disability or if they suffered a more serious injury, paralysis or even death. The attorneys at Slack and Davis understand how serious injuries can impact a worker and their family’s day-to-day life. We have worked with many victims to help them get them the compensation they deserve to meet their immediate and long-term needs.

Mike Davis Featured in Oak Hill Gazette

For the last 30 years, Slack & Davis Partner and Co-Founder Mike Davis has made it his mission to ensure that children in the Oak Hill Youth Sports Association (OHYSA) in Austin were building confidence, learning something new, having fun and forging long lasting friendships.

For Davis, his involvement in OHYSA began as a volunteer when his son first started playing T-Ball. At the 50-year anniversary of the ballfields, Davis spoke with the Oak Hill Gazette and remarked that volunteering was a slippery slope – he first started out as a “helper dad,” then became an assistant coach, and the following year he was head coach. From there, his involvement with the league continued, landing him on the league board and subsequently in the position of President from 1998 – 1999.

During his tenure, he came up with the idea for tournament play with other youth sports associations to provide players greater exposure and help them better transition between league and high school ball. “It turned into a big deal that’s continued to this day,” said Davis.

Even when Davis was diagnosed with lymphoma, he told the Gazette, “About the only thing I looked forward to every day was when I was out there on the field coaching my team.” Years later, Davis noted that coaching still provided a release for him from the stresses of his work as an attorney. He was able to get as much back as he was giving, which extended beyond volunteer work. When floods hit South Austin a few years ago and completely devastated the sports complex, Davis and the firm contributed financially to all restoration efforts, even sponsoring brand-new scoreboards to celebrate the firm’s 20th anniversary and to honor the sports complex.

Through his later years at Oak Hill, Davis learned the true value of coaching when he no longer had a child on the team. He was a more laid-back coach, and even though the team did not win often, each kid signed back up for the next year. “If we do our jobs right as coaches, they’ll love it no matter if they win or lose.”
 

Are Helicopters Safer Than Airplanes?

Are helicopters safer than airplanes

If you’ve ever taken (or considered taking) a helicopter ride, you might be wondering: Are helicopters safer than airplanes? How safe are helicopters, in general? Helicopter vs. airplane safety statistics published by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) paint a complicated picture, especially since helicopters and airplanes are often operated for different reasons and under different conditions.

Are Helicopters Safer Than Airplanes?

Many other factors also come into play when you are comparing statistics. Since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not oversee the safety of tourist helicopter companies, for example, there can be a wide range of training and experience levels among helicopter pilots. Read on to learn more about helicopter vs. airplane safety.

How Safe Are Helicopters?

Statistics show that smaller aircraft, including private planes and air taxis (a category that includes helicopters), are more accident-prone than larger commercial flights. According to the NTSB, in 2015, there were zero fatal plane accidents involving commercial airlines in the United States. Of the 415 aviation fatalities in the U.S. that year, 100 percent involved general aviation aircraft, air taxis, commuter planes and foreign or unregistered planes.

Of the three air taxi helicopter accidents in the U.S. which occurred in 2010, two resulted in serious injuries and significant damage to the helicopters. – Review of U.S. Civil Aviation Accidents, 2010  

Why is there such a difference in fatal accidents between commercial airlines and smaller aircraft, including helicopters? There are several factors that can help explain this discrepancy. First, in any category of aircraft, the majority of accidents occur during takeoffs and landings. Second, regarding helicopters specifically, the biggest factors affecting flight safety are weather conditions along with pilot training, experience and skill. Since helicopters typically land and take off far more often than larger aircraft, and since general aviation pilots aren’t required to have as much training or experience as commercial pilots, helicopter flights are more prone to accidents, including fatal ones.

Other Factors Affecting the Risk of Helicopter Flights

Unlike airplanes, helicopters do not require a runway for landing, so they are able to land almost anywhere; this is one reason why they are often used in high-risk military or medical rescue missions. Helicopters also fly at much lower altitudes than most other aircraft, which brings hazards like the sudden, unexpected appearance of buildings, landforms or other aircraft into play.

More than half of air tour helicopter accidents between 2007 and 2009 involved system or component failures.  – Review of U.S. Civil Aviation Accidents, 2007-2009

Furthermore, since helicopters have far more controls than airplanes for pilots to learn in navigation, the accident rate during training sessions is twice as high for helicopters as for airplanes. The overall rate of helicopter crashes, however, is only slightly higher than that of airplane crashes, and the fatality rate is actually slightly lower for helicopters.

There are also different risk factors among the various types of helicopters themselves. Personal helicopters, which are often operated by less experienced pilots, have a higher crash rate than professionally operated commercial helicopter taxis. Lower-quality helicopters also crash more often than higher-end models, likely due to differences in mechanical quality along with pilot experience and training. Helicopters certainly have more moving parts than airplanes, which means more parts that might fail mechanically, causing an accident.

Most helicopter accidents involved a loss of pilot control, collisions during takeoff or in flight or system failures.  – Review of U.S. Civil Aviation Accidents, 2007-2009

Weather and other conditions of the flight also make a difference. Emergency flights, such as military or medical rescue flights, have a higher crash rate than flights for business or pleasure, since they often fly regardless of weather and other conditions.

How Safe Are Helicopter Tours?

Discovering a new area from the unique vantage point of a helicopter is an enticing opportunity. Gaining that aerial view of the terrain below, perhaps to observe or admire animals or landforms you might never have spotted from the ground—it’s no wonder many people love exploring by helicopter. Even helicopter flights close to home are exciting for the new perspective and information they can provide. But how safe are helicopter tours?

Let’s look at the facts and statistics:

  • Helicopter tours operated by a more experienced and highly trained pilot are safer than those piloted by someone with less experience and training.
  • If you are considering taking a tourist helicopter ride, check the company’s safety ratings and customer reviews before you book your flight.
  • It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on weather reports on the days leading up to your flight, so you’ll know if it’s best to cancel or postpone. (Of course, reputable pilots won’t fly in adverse conditions like rain or wind.)
  • Finally, helicopter tours are one area in which the old rule of “You get what you pay for” certainly applies.

Companies charging lower rates for a tour are likely making up costs by hiring less-experienced helicopter pilots who require less pay than a more experienced, highly trained pilot. While you can never receive 100% assurance of a safe flight, it may be a good idea to spring for a more expensive helicopter tour with an established company that has high safety ratings and excellent customer reviews. 

Consult An Aviation Attorney

Unfortunately, sometimes accidents happen when you least expect it. If you or someone you know is involved in an aviation accident, whether it’s a commercial flight, air ambulance, helicopter or other aircraft, our attorneys at Slack & Davis have deep experience in aviation law and can advise you on the best course of legal action. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Truck Accident Causes and What To Do If You’re Involved in One

Truck Accident Causes

Vehicle accidents of any type always carry the potential for grim outcomes. But when a car is involved in an accident with a large truck, such as a semi, tanker or 18-wheeler, the outcome is especially likely to be serious, if not fatal. Smaller vehicles hardly stand a chance against larger trucks that outweigh them by many thousands of pounds—and unfortunately, many times, the truck is to blame for the accident.

Truck Accident Causes and What To Do If You’re Involved in One

One of the most common truck accident causes is driver error due to fatigue, inexperience, or driving under the influence. Other common truck accident causes include equipment failure, speeding, unsafe highway or weather conditions, and trucking company policies that may prevent alert, well-rested drivers.

What Truck Driver Accident Statistics Show

According to the Federation of American Scientists, rates of truck accidents, injuries and fatalities have been rising since 2009. This rise led to federal regulations which went into effect in 2013 that were intended to limit truck sizes, as well as truck drivers’ time spent on the road, but the Senate Appropriations Committee has since moved to suspend many of those regulations. Most recently, in March 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) abandoned its proposed “restart rule,” which would have required truck drivers to take a 34-hour rest period at least once per week.

The FMCSA has also proposed other rules that have faced opposition and have yet to become law, such as stricter training standards for drivers and trucks being equipped with speed limiters to prevent speeding on roadways. Both drivers and motor carriers have protested regulations like these due to the constant push for greater productivity and wages. The suspension of these regulations, however, may contribute to truck drivers spending longer hours on the road in longer, heavier trucks, both of which can put truck drivers and other vehicles at greater risk of being involved in a serious or even deadly accident.

Common Truck Accident Causes

In the early 2000s, the FMCSA, together with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, conducted a study examining the causes of nearly 1,000 serious crashes involving large trucks that occurred across 17 states. According to the results of this study, the leading causes of truck accidents include: brake problems (29%), speeding (23%), unfamiliar with the roadway (22%) and roadway problems (20%). Driver fatigue, drug use, and inexperience were also contributing factors.

Overall, there are five primary causes of truck accidents:

Truck driver impairment due to fatigue or driving under the influence

Spending long hours on the road leads to fatigue, which impairs alertness and driving ability; fatigue can also push some drivers to rely on stimulants and other substances to stay alert, despite the fact that these also can impair their ability to drive.

Equipment failure

A piece of a truck’s mechanical or electrical equipment can fail, which can result in a catastrophic injury. Brake failure or even a tire blowout can cause a truck driver to lose control of the vehicle, resulting in a devastating crash.

Highway or weather conditions that make driving less safe for everyone

The heavier the vehicle, the longer it takes for the driver to bring that vehicle to a complete stop, especially when roadways are wet or iced over. Similarly, sudden slow-downs and stops necessitated by construction, accidents or other roadway hazards are more difficult for longer, heavier vehicles to navigate or respond to quickly.

Speeding

Exceeding recommended speeds is a major factor in many roadway accidents, whether involving trucks, cars or other vehicles.

Trucking company policies

Some company policies push drivers to spend longer hours on the road, thereby creating unsafe conditions for everyone. Many truck drivers are subject to pressures such as strict deadlines and low hourly pay, leading them to push onward on the road instead of stopping to rest.

What to Do if You or Someone You Love Is Involved in a Truck Accident

When you or someone you know has been involved in an accident involving a truck, the injuries can be serious and the resulting medical bills can be staggering—not to mention the damage to your vehicle and any wages lost while you’re out of work. When there is a tragic loss of life due to a truck accident, the financial and emotional toll can be even more severe.

The personal injury attorneys at Slack & Davis are compassionate and experienced in the area of truck accident injuries. We take a personalized approach to pursuing the compensation our clients deserve after experiencing a devastating truck accident. Whether you personally or someone you know was involved, call Slack & Davis for legal advice on your particular situation. Our attorneys will help you fight for the fair compensation you deserve.

The Shifting Sands of Personal Jurisdiction

In the Texas Lawyer article “The Shifting Sands of Personal Jurisdiction,” Partner Ladd Sanger provided perspective on the issue of personal jurisdiction when it comes to aviation litigation. As an FAA-licensed commercial airline pilot, and a licensed helicopter pilot, Ladd examined how aviation litigation can become even more cumbersome, as battles over jurisdiction continue to prolong and complicate cases.

“Aviation cases are particularly affected by personal jurisdiction, because there are almost always numerous jurisdictions implicated given the transient nature of aircraft,” Sanger wrote. “For example, it is common for an aircraft to be manufactured in one location, maintenance on the aircraft and its engines to be done in several states, manufacturers in additional jurisdictions, and operators/pilots coming from yet other places.”

What this all adds up to for plaintiffs is often the need to file multiple lawsuits in multiple jurisdictions, resulting in inefficiency within the judicial system, as each separate case will proceed on different discovery and trial schedules. This translates to drawn out litigation and increasingly complex battles with the defense, who typically fight to avoid jurisdictions which they believe to have a plaintiff bias. For both sides, the litigation of jurisdiction can easily wind up costing more than the underlying litigation.

So where does that leave aviation litigation today, in the future and particularly in Texas? Sanger concluded by noting that Texas is already seeing the implications surrounding the changes in personal jurisdiction, which has resulted in an uptick in aviation cases filed in Texas. This is likely because the state is home to many airframe, engine and maintenance companies where jurisdiction is proper under the most stringent standards, as well as the state’s pro-business mentality, sophisticated judiciary and laws favorable to defendants.”