The term ‘ironworker’ is frequently used to refer to the tradesmen who are employed in the iron working industry. This is one of the most dangerous professions in the United States. According to the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety & Health (ELCOSH), ironworkers are severely injured or killed on the job at a rate that is six times higher than the average construction worker.
At The Walthew Law Firm, our Seattle workers’ compensation attorneys represent ironworkers who were injured at construction sites and at other work sites. If you or your loved one was injured while working as an ironworker in Washington, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm for a free consultation.
The Most Common Types of Ironworker Injuries
Ironworking is a complex job that requires considerable skill and extensive training. Beyond this, ironworkers are frequently required to work intense, even dangerous, conditions. Indeed, there are many different safety hazards on modern job sites. As noted by the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers, relaxed safety standards on job sites can be blamed for the deaths of many ironworkers each year. Other workers may suffer severe, even permanent, injuries. Some of the most common types of accidents that lead to serious injuries or fatalities for ironworkers include:
- Fall accidents;
- Scaffolding accidents;
- The collapse of steel joists, concrete or other building materials;
- Caught between injuries;
- Toxic exposure;
- Crush injuries; and
- Crane accidents.
While employers and other companies are required to take certain measures to ensure worksites are safe for ironworkers, too many of them cut corners. Profits and production should never come before safety. Sadly, in far too many cases, companies fail to follow the state and federal regulations designed to protect construction workers and other industry employees.
Washington Law: Construction Sites Must Meet Certain Safety Standards
Under Washington law (Chapter 296-155 WAC), employers are required to comply with certain safety standards for construction site work. As many ironworkers are required to work from great heights, the state’s fall protection regulations are especially important. Fall accidents are the single leading cause of severe injuries and fatalities for ironworkers at construction sites. If any worker is expected to be ten or more feet off of the ground, it is imperative that the employer complies with Washington’s fall protection rules. This includes:
- Identifying possible safety hazards;
- Implementing a workable fall protection plan;
- Ensuring that the fall protection system is properly installed and maintained; and
- Ensuring that ironworkers and other employees are properly trained regarding fall hazards.
Of course, fall accidents are far from the only safety issue that faces ironworkers at construction sites. Companies should also take steps to reduce the risks posed by other potential hazards, including ensuring that all tools are secured and stored, providing overhead protection to workers who are in zones where there is a risk of falling objects, and implementing a program to make sure that all employees are properly trained.
Ironworker Injuries: Understanding Your Options for Financial Compensation
In Washington, ironworkers are typically covered by the state’s no-fault workers’ compensation insurance program. Injured workers are not required to prove negligence or any wrongdoing to be eligible to receive benefits. However, this is the exclusive remedy that injured ironworkers have against their employer. If you were injured while working as an ironworker in Washington, you should submit a workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible. Through a workers’ compensation claim, benefits may be available for:
- All reasonable and necessary medical treatment;
- Lost income for time missed on the job; and
- Long-term disability or permanent impairments.
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation or industrial insurance does not necessarily provide injured ironworkers with coverage for the full value of their losses. For example, industrial insurance does not provide financial relief for an injured worker’s pain and suffering. However, in some cases, injured ironworkers may have additional legal options available to recover compensation. If a negligent third party was legally liable for the accident—whether it is another contractor, a subcontractor, a property owner, or a manufacturer—financial relief may be available through a personal injury claim against the negligent third party.
Get Help From a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Who Represents Injured Ironworkers
At The Walthew Law Firm, our top-rated Seattle workers’ compensation attorneys have extensive experience representing injured ironworkers. We are committed to ensuring that our clients get access to the maximum available work injury benefits. To set up a free, strictly confidential review of your work injury case, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team today.