Steel workers go to work every day in one of the most dangerous industries in the country. But just because their jobs are dangerous does not mean they waive their right to come home healthy in the evening. Supervisors and construction companies should take extra care to protect all of their workers from serious construction accidents, whether the job site involves dangerous equipment, complex projects, or unsafe work conditions.
If you have been injured on the job as a steel worker in New York, you are not alone in your fight for compensation. Whether you are looking to file a workers' compensation claim, fight a denied claim, or hold someone else liable for their actions in civil court, a knowledgeable attorney can help you every step of the way. Call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, today at (212) 986-7353 to set up a free consultation.
Steel workers tend to find themselves in dangerous environments, whether it be construction sites, tunnels or basements, or a workshop. These workspaces can be cramped, making it difficult for them to receive proper ventilation, or heavily exposed, oftentimes at great heights. This means that steel workers are at risk of suffering a wide variety of injuries in any number of accidents, almost always due to safety violations. Workers should always be provided with proper protective gear, such as masks, goggles, and gloves, as well as reliable equipment that is free of defects or broken parts.
Like any other construction site worker, steel workers should also expect their employers to protect them from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Fatal Four, which include:
- Falls – Construction sites should have properly constructed scaffolding, handrails, and safety nets to protect workers from dangerous falls.
- Caught-ins – Structures should be secure and stable before workers begin demolitions or renovations or else they can be put at risk of being pinned underneath falling material or structures.
- Stuck-by – All tools, equipment, and materials should be secure and away from edges to protect workers from falling objects.
- Electrocution – Electrical components, wiring, generators, and equipment should be inspected so that they are free of defects that can lead to fatal electric shocks.
Steel workers are often employed for their specialized skills, meaning they can work on any job that involves one of the Fatal Four. The types of job sites that steel workers are most often injured at include:
- High-rise construction projects
- Renovations to older structures
- Road and bridge construction projects
- Expanding or repairing tunnels, including New York’s subway network
- The laying of foundation for new buildings
With the wide variety of job sites that steel workers can be employed, there are several dangerous accidents they can be involved. Working on large construction companies can put them at risk for being struck by falling equipment or caught between heavy machinery if everyone on the job site is not careful. Some of the common accidents steel workers face include:
- Slips and falls: Slips, trips, and falls are among the most common workplace accidents in any field, especially at construction sites. Steel workers are no less at risk, especially when wearing protective eye and face gear that can obstruct their vision.
- Exposure to chemicals: Toxic chemicals are often found at construction worksites. Certain chemicals are specific to iron and steel work, which creates additional dangers.
- Exposure to the elements: Working with iron and steel requires intense heat from torches and other tools. Using these tools creates the threat of burns from direct exposure or from being near the heat source.
- Electrical shocks: Whether from power tools or exposed wiring at a construction worksite, electrical shocks are a serious danger for metal workers. Proper safety gear can help reduce this risk, but workers must be alert.
- Crush dangers: Any impact with another object or heavy machinery can cause serious injuries, especially if a worker's neck, head, or back are struck. Collapsing structures can cause catastrophic injuries and are often fatal.
Alongside the Fatal Four, steel workers also face unique safety issues for their profession. They often deal with hot, powerful equipment that allows them to easily cut through steel bars, paneling, and columns, as well as to properly weld structures in place. They may need to work from great heights or in confined spaces with limited lighting and ventilation. Altogether, their job comes with several different safety risks, including:
- Burns and scarring from hot equipment and work materials
- Impalement from falling tools or steel bars
- Collapsing open web steel joists
- Heat strokes in confined spaces
- Toxic exposure in confined spaces
- Caught-ins involving heavy machinery that can cause broken bones, spinal cord damage, and other crush injuries
- Struck-by from collapsing walls and steel columns, leading to brain injuries
- Prolonged hearing damage due to loud job sites
- Amputations caused by collapsing structures
All of these injuries can be catastrophic, leading to high medical bills, months out of work, and a significant amount of pain. Some injuries may follow you for years to come, affecting your ability to perform at your job and enjoy your life. But you do have legal options after an accident.
Construction sites are complicated, loud places that have a lot of moving parts. If one thing goes wrong, such as a worker leaving out an exposed wire or a supervisor failing to inspect a demolition, everyone can be put at danger for suffering a serious injury. However, workers’ compensation applies to all injuries sustained on a job site, no matter who was at fault. If your injuries were caused by a safety violation, negligent supervisor, or inexperienced worker, you can file a claim with your company’s workers’ compensation insurance for damages.
Like any other construction workers, steel workers can also be injured by third-parties who are not employed by the same company. That can include contractors who can be found liable in a personal injury claim, as well as drivers on New York streets. If you were injured due to a negligent driver who struck you while you were crossing the street to a construction site or drove into a building you were working on, you may be able to pursue an auto accident claim.
Steel workers who suffer serious injuries on the job can receive compensation. It is important to file an official report about a workplace accident right away and see a doctor to assess the injuries. Once this is done, a workers' compensation claim should be filed as soon as possible since there are deadlines for such claims. An experienced NYC construction accident attorney can help you file the paperwork, and appeal the decision if your claim is denied. You may also have grounds for a civil lawsuit if someone's negligence caused the injury.
Take action to receive compensation for your injuries and hold others accountable for their recklessness. Our workers’ comp lawyers can help you meet filing deadlines, handle insurance companies, and fight to make sure your rights are protected. Call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, at (212) 986-7353 to discuss your options.