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Construction season brings accidents and injuries

Construction hard hats

Originally published April 2019

Updated May 2021

I put some miles on my truck today. I went north to south, out to the Spokane Valley and back along Sprague and I-90, and finally through downtown. One thing became abundantly clear to me: along with the more sun and the drier weather, construction season has returned.

‘Tis the season for construction injury claims

With the advent of summer weather quickly approaching, crews are out getting back to work. According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, there are 19 large-scale construction projects in Eastern Washington (be prepared for a wide array of I-90 construction work). Pretty soon, we’ll all be thankful, yet mildly grumpy, about the pothole and road maintenance that seems never-ending in the warm Spokane months.

Unfortunately, with the new buildings, road construction projects, and pothole repair comes accidents and injuries. In fiscal year 2020, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries reports that jobs classified as “Construction Craft Laborer” accounted for 3135 claims and over $40,053,116 in costs. That’s a lotta sprains, strains, bandages, and breaks.

Construction site injuries

Being on the wrong side of workers’ compensation is no picnic. When you work at construction sites, you are at risk of several potential injuries, as well as possible OSHA standard violations. According to the US Department of Labor, some of the most frequently cited injury violations in fiscal year 2020 were Fall Protections, Hazard Communications, and Respiratory Protections, and that’s just the start.

Here’s a couple of examples.

We worked on one workers’ comp case where a worker was running a tanker truck. She needed to refill the truck which the company had underbid. She climbed up the side of a hill to a hydrant to connect a “firetruck” style hose. After connecting the hose, on her way down the unmaintained trail, she tripped on a semi-covered rock and rolled down the hill (think Jack and Jill) and injured her low back, neck, pelvis, and finger. Her middle finger had to be in a splint so she got the last laugh, right?

In another construction injury case, an electrician was installing a temporary power terminal so that the local electric utility company could provide power to the terminal in order to provide electricity at the worksite. When he lifted the post and terminal off his company van, it hinged on the van and pulled. Unfortunately, the electrician was holding onto the post and it flung him, resulting in a low back injury and a torn rotator cuff.

We were able to help each of these workers recover from their construction injuries and we would value the opportunity to do the same for you.

Seemingly innocent construction site tasks can turn ugly in a matter of seconds. As experienced workers’ compensation attorneys we’ve helped our share of construction workers navigate the overwhelming claims resolution process.

Workers’ Compensation L&I Attorneys in Central and Eastern Washington

If you get injured while on the job due to someone else’s negligence or intentional harm, we’ll be by your side to help you get the relief you need and the compensation and care you deserve. Our hands-on, personable approach and years of workers’ compensation experience means that we’re here to take the heavy burden off of you so you can focus on recovery. Think of us as more of a friend who has your back.

Be careful, be mindful and stay safe out there. If you’re in Spokane, Tri-Cities, Yakima, or anywhere else in Central or Eastern Washington and find yourself with a Washington State Labor and Industries claim, contact Carlisle + Byers to set up a free consultation to make sure your rights are being protected.