Sustaining Spine Injuries in the Workplace

Regardless of the type of work environment employees operate, there is always risk of an accident which can result to injuries. Risk of an accident, however, is always higher in and around construction zones where dangerous tools and heavy machinery are abundant; add to these the frequent unstable conditions within the area. These and many other factors, the most dangerous of which is negligence either of the employer or of the workers themselves, can be causes of catastrophic, even fatal, injuries.

Worker fatalities in construction sites was 899 in 2014, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). For decades now, OSHA has also identified falls, electrocution, getting struck-by-object, and getting caught-in-between, as the four top causes of injuries and deaths in construction sites.

With routine maintenance, due care, and strict observance of OSHA-mandated safety precautions, many injuries could be prevented. One type of serious injury which thousands of workers sustain is spinal cord injury. Every year from 2003 through 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics received reports of over a quarter of a million claims due to back and spinal cord injuries. Besides causing workers too much pain and discomfort, these injuries also limit their ability to walk, work, and live the full and independent life they are accustomed to.

How severe a spinal cord injury is depends on which part of the spinal cord is affected; one sure thing, though, is that the higher in the spinal column the injury occurs, the worse will be the outcome. Cervical spine injury (neck area) affects the neck, arms and hands; Thoracic spine injury (chest area) affects the torso and parts of the arms; spine injury at the lumbar or low back area affects the hips and legs; and, injury at the sacral or pelvis area affects the groin, toes and parts of the leg.

A spinal cord injury could be complete or incomplete. Complete spinal cord injury affects both sides of the body; it also renders all body parts (below the affected area) without sensation and function. Incomplete spinal cord injury, on the other hand, means some functioning below the affected area. Those with this type of injury may still be able to feel parts of their body which they cannot move, may have one side to their body functioning more than the other, or may be able to move one of their limbs more than the other.

Aside from causing physical, psychological and emotional pains and suffering, a spinal cord injury can also result to a lifetime of medical costs. Due to this, spine injury lawyers from the Scudder & Hedrick, PLLC, law firm advises injured workers to find out and know about their legal rights and options to seeking the compensation that will save them from crippling financial situations. A highly-skilled lawyer may be able to provide them the legal assistance they may need regarding this matter.

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