Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

Articles Tagged with construction injury

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Construction_WorkersMuskuloskeletal Disorders or MSDs are soft tissue injuries that affect many construction workers. Globally MSDs are the largest category of workplace injuries and account for 30% of all US worker’s compensation costs. MSDs affect all the parts of the body that are responsible for movements such as the muscles, the tendons, the nerves, the ligaments, the disks or the blood vessels. They are the result of sudden or repetitive motions, forces or awkward positions.

Due to the nature of their activity, construction workers are among the workers who are the most at risk of suffering from MSDs with the most common cause being overexertion from activities such as pushing, pulling, holding carrying and catching as well as lifting and lowering. In its quarterly report the Center for Construction Research and Training provides an in-depth analysis of  MSDs in the American construction industry.

In 2017, 19,690 WMSDs injuries resulted in days away from  work in the construction industry with the most common injuries being sprains, strains and tears. Back injuries were the most predominant, followed by lower and upper extremities. Age is a main factor in muskuloskeletal disorders and the older a construction worker is the higher the risk is that he might suffer from WMSDs resulting in days away from work.

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respiratory test set upThe dust generated on construction sites can have adverse health effects on construction workers. Different activities on construction sites can generate different types of nanoparticles and ultrafine particles that can lead to serious respiratory diseases such as silicosis and lung cancer. To prevent these diseases the NIOSH recommend that workers use N95 respirators. However according to a recent pilot study conducted by the Center for Construction and Research Training (CPWR), these respirators might not protect construction workers properly depending on the task that they execute.

The CPWR used two manikins fitted with two types of  NIOSH approved N95 masks, the pleated N95 mask and the foldable N95 and assessed their respiratory protection against ultrafine particles and nanoparticles in various construction environments.

The researchers first found out that it was very difficult to get the N95 masks themselves as they were out of stock or back ordered for several weeks and substitutes had to be used for the studies.

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diseases associated to nanoparticle exposureConstruction workers who are using spray or who are power sanding wood sealant are inhaling zinc nano particles that may have negative consequences on their health. To avoid long-term injuries and illnesses a recent study found that the use of a local exhaust ventilation reduces exposure to nano particles by 92%.  A local exhaust ventilation also reduces the exposure to dust by 80%.

The study was recently published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.  The authors of the study wanted to understand if zinc oxide nano particles contained in a wood sealant were detrimental to construction workers health while spraying the sealant or when sanding it.  They conducted various tests during which a worker executed the tasks of spraying the sealant and sanding it in an environmentally controlled chamber. Various filters were installed to collect particles. Researchers also used instruments allowing them to count  real-time particle levels. They found that globally the level of nano particles was high for both activities and that a local exhaust ventilation was effective in reducing nano particles by 92%.

Researchers also wanted to know if many unbound nano particles of zinc oxide  were released during the same operation. They used electron microscopy to analyze the collected samples. They found that most nano-sized ZnO particles were contained within or on the surface of larger airborne particles. More studies are necessary to understand which level of nanoscale ZnO is detrimental to construction workers health.

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timber formwork The traditional way of building slab form work entails many risks of accidents and injuries to construction workers. The formwork is built on site, usually out of timber and plywood and concrete is poured into it. Several risks of accidents and injuries are associated with this operation such as:

  1. Serious injury or even death caused by a fall off the unprotected sides of the work zone’s leading edge.
  2. Serious injury caused by falling objects such as tools or material to workers  active below the area of the traditional formwork construction
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Coupe_de_poumon_atteint_de_silicoseMany construction workers who have been over exposed to silica dust developed lung cancer, silicosis as well as pulmonary and kidney disease. The danger of exposure to silica dust was first highlighted by the US government in 1930 but the first rule related to silica exposure time was released in 1971 when OSHA was created. The 1971 rule is outdated and recent waves of illnesses and deaths among construction workers have led to the creations of new OSHA standards. A final rule was issued by OSHA two months ago on March 25. The rule contains two standards: one for the construction industry and one for the maritime and general industry. OSHA estimates that every year the new standards will save 600 lives and prevent 900 workers from getting silicosis. The standards will take effect on June 23, 2016. From that date, the construction industry will have one year to comply with OSHA requirements.

To help contractors and construction workers understand and comply with the new standard, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) just hosted a webinar on  “Understanding & Implementing the New Construction Silica Standard”.  In this webinar,OSHA’s Director of Standards & Guidance,  David O’connor, presented the key provisions in the new standard. A free planning tool was also presented to participants. CPWR Deputy Director, Chris Trahan and CPWR r2p Director, Eileen Betit explained to participants how to make the best use of this planning tool. A recording of the webinar can be found here.

Additionally, at the request of many who could not attend the first webinar, another live webinar session will take place on Thursday June 16th at 2;00 pm Eastern Time. The same speakers, David O’Connor, OSHA’s Director of Standards & Guidance , Chris Trahan, CPWR Deputy Director and Eileen Betit, CPWR r2p Director will discuss the new standard for the construction industry and best way to implement it. The webinar is free and aimed at contractors in the construction industry but anyone interested can attend. If you wish to participate you can register here.

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A woman is loaded into an air ambulance that landed on Ski Hill Rd. after a head-on crash near Lifford Rd. on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011. She was flown to Toronto's Sunnybrook hospital with serious, life-threatening injuries. Another woman was also airlifted to the same hospital with serious injuries. JASON BAIN/THE LINDSAY POST/QMI AGENCY

Personal injury attorneys representing construction workers that have been injured at work understand too well the economic consequences of such accidents. When a worker is injured he will not only have direct costs such as medical expenses but also indirect ones such as lost wages and fringe benefits as well as lost home productivity.

A recent study published by the American Journal of Industrial Medicine provides an analysis of the economic consequences of workplace injuries in the United States.  The authors of the study , Xiuwen Sue Dong DrPH1,*, Xuanwen Wang PhD1, Julie A. Largay MPHand Rosemary Sokas MD, MOH2   estimated that in 2007, the total of the direct and indirect costs of all reported work injuries in the US cost $250 billion, higher than the $219 million spent on cancer. Worker’s compensation covers an average 44.5% of the direct medical costs but this amount represents only 20.7% of the total costs. The difference is being  shifted onto the workers and their families, insurance carriers and the government.

The study finds that following an injury, an injured worker’s family will suffer income loss because of the lost wages and his or her disability. The study also shows that Union workers are better protected in case of an accident and will suffer a moderate income loss compared to a non union worker who suffers the same work injury. Income disparity will persist in the long term.





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sheet-metal-workersAmong all construction workers, sheet metal workers have one of the highest risks of personal injury. Some of them are injured so badly that they are permanently disabled. A recent study published in the American Journal of  Industrial Medicine provides an Analysis of Permanent Work Disability Among Construction Sheet Metal Workers. The authors Gavin H. West MPH1,*, Jaime Dawson MPH2, Claire Teitelbaum BA1, Rebecca Novello BA1, Katherine Hunting PhD, MPH2 and Laura S. Welch MD1,2  analyzed the pension records of disabled sheet metal workers to compare the causes of disabilities. They found out that 47% of the disabilities were related to Muskuloskeletal disorders (MSDs). 14% of them were related to circulatory diseases and 10 % were related to other  injuries suffered at work.

Sheet metal workers are construction workers installing, repairing and maintaining heat and AC units or installing signs, rain gutters or roofs. They have one of the highest rate of non fatal personal injury among construction workers. The study indicates that these injuries are  often related to working at heights and overexertion as well as manual material handling.

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construction worker exposed to fumesConstruction workers that are exposed to vapors, gases, dusts and fumes are at increased risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) according to a study that was recently published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. The study looked at 834 cases of older construction workers with COPD and analysed their lifetime work and exposure histories. Researchers found that as a result of broad and complex effects of many exposures acting independently or interactively, construction workers are at increased risk of COPD and those who are smokers are the most at risk.

Tomorrow, Wednesday Ocotber 14 at 2pm Easter Time, The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) invited Dr John Dement, the lead author of this study to present his findings in a webinar. This webinar is free and will last 20 minutes. You can click here to register.

Key finding from the research can also be downloaded here.

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CPWRNano-enabled construction products usage has been expanding fast but little is know about the potential health dangers of these products for construction workers who are exposed to them.  Because manufacturers are not obligated to disclose that their products  contain nanoparticles it makes it even more difficult for contractors and construction workers to identify these products and to protect themselves from potential injuries.

CPWR, the Center for Construction Research and Training,  has dedicated resources to research these products. Researchers at CPWR have created a  website ( ) that contains information on over 400 construction products that are probably nano-enabled.

Tomorrow September 23rd at 2:00 pm (Eastern Time)  CPWR will host a 20 minutes webinar to present this new website and the result of their research on nanomaterials used in construction. Participants will learn about the different types of exposures and how to use control technologies and respiratory protection against nanoparticles.  They will also be briefed on the new products trends and will also learn how to navigate the new website hat contains over 450 products and numerous relevant documents. The seminar will be followed by a Q&A session.