Workers at Risk for Spinal Injury

December 3, 2018

Construction and transportation industry workers are at risk for spinal injury, according to researchers at the University of Sydney. According to their study recently published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, work-related spinal injuries occur most frequently in these two high-risk industries.

Construction Industry Spinal Injuries

Construction workers face an increased risk of sustaining work-related injuries in general. Common causes of workplace accidents at construction sites include falls, being struck by an object, electrocutions and getting caught in or between objects. Construction workers may also sustain injuries from a slip and fall, vehicle crash, trench collapse, explosion or even overexertion. All these workplace accidents can cause spinal injury.

Out of the 824 hospital admissions for work-related spinal injuries between 2013 and 2016 that the researchers studied, half occurred in the construction industry.  The study found that 78 percent of spinal injuries in the construction industry were due to falls, particularly falls from heights such as building structures, scaffolding and ladders.

Transportation Industry Spinal Injuries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the U.S. Truck drivers, bus drivers and other workers in the transportation industry are on the road most of the time, putting them at risk of sustaining injuries from a crash.

The study found that 31 percent of the 824 spinal injuries occurred in transportation industry due to vehicle crashes. Heavy vehicle crashes accounted for 24 percent of the injuries, making it the most common cause of transportation industry spinal injuries. Half of all transport injuries occurred off road (not on state roads), according to the study.

Implications of the Study for Construction and Transportation Industry Workers

The study’s lead author notes that, despite some safety measures being in place, the construction industry continues to experience a high number of work-related spinal injuries. She suggests that employers implement more effective policies, risk management strategies and preventative countermeasures. She also calls for increased local surveillance of safety systems and stricter enforcement of relevant legislation to reduce workers’ risk of sustaining injuries from falls, such as spinal injuries.

In the U.S., employers must provide workers with a safe and healthful workplace, free from known health and safety hazards, according to the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act). Those who are injured at work in Pennsylvania may collect workers’ compensation benefits including medical expenses and a percentage of their lost wages regardless of who was at fault for the accident. More compensation may be available if the injury was caused by someone other than the worker’s employer; it is advisable to seek counsel from an experienced attorney as laws regarding third party claims vary from state to state.

Contact a Work Injury Lawyer in Philadelphia at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. for Help With Your Claim

If you sustained a spinal injury from a workplace accident, you need the assistance of an experienced work injury lawyer in Philadelphia. Contact Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. today to schedule a free consultation by calling 888-PITT-LAW. You can also contact us online.

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