Welders are a critical part of any construction crew. Without them, few Syracuse buildings would ever get raised. Welders join pieces of metal using heat or pressure. Most welders use a blowtorch to generate sufficient heat, though welding can also use lasers, electrical currents, and even chemical reactions.
As statistics show, welding is a dangerous profession, and the risk of suffering a serious accident is high. At Powers & Santola, LLP, we can assist anyone who was harmed in a welding accident if you contact us today. Our Syracuse construction accident lawyer will listen to you explain what happened and walk you through the relevant considerations involved with filing a legal claim.
What Injuries Are Common with Welding Accidents?
Both federal and New York regulations seek to improve welder safety. They require that welders have adequate safety equipment, such as a full face shield, and that work areas are properly ventilated. Still, it’s possible for welders to suffer some common injuries:
- Burns. A welder can suffer a burn from sparks emitted while welding or in an explosion. Welding burns are often very serious because of the high heat used. Many burns are very deep, third- or fourth-degree, and can lead to amputation. Other complications include restricted mobility and possible infection. Serious burns often need skin grafts.
- Blindness. “Welder’s flash” is very real and can cause eye injuries, sometimes even blindness.
- Hearing loss. Welders are also at risk of suffering hearing loss because of the noise created. Inhaled fumes can also damage hearing.
- Lung damage. Welding emits toxic fumes, which can damage a welder’s lungs. Even nearby workers could suffer lung injuries if they inhale fumes.
- Neurological problems. Welders can suffer damage to the cells in the inner ear and, as a result, suffer from impaired balance and tremors which mimic Parkinson’s disease.
- Death. A high number of workers can die in a fatal welding accident. The Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that 49 people died in welding accidents in 2019.
These are many of the most common injuries. Welders can also fall during an explosion, which would lead to all sorts of injuries related to falling.
What Should You Do after a Welding Accident?
First, you should notify your employer about the accident and then seek prompt medical help. Many welding injuries are so serious that workers will need transportation to the hospital in an ambulance. The road to recovery will probably be grueling, so focus as much as possible on doing all required rehabilitation.
Once your medical condition is stabilized, you should consult an attorney. Our Syracuse construction accident lawyer can help you understand your right to workers’ compensation benefits, as well as possibly bringing a lawsuit. For example, if your face shield failed to work as expected, you might sue the manufacturer for selling a defective product.
Remember to never accept a settlement without a lawyer reviewing it. Chances are you are not receiving a fair deal. An employer will have the incentive to offer less than you can possibly deserve, and they might reach out to you soon after the welding accident to try and settle the claim.
Can You Sue Your Employer?
It’s possible. Most workers are prohibited from suing their employer for a work injury. But New York’s Labor Law sometimes comes into play, especially for construction workers.
For example, under Labor Law 241(6), violations of the New York Industrial Code often give rise to employer liability. Many industrial regulations relate to welding, such as requirements that workers receive approved eye protection and that a fire extinguisher be close at hand. Any violation of these regulations could make your employer liable for the accident and your injuries, which would allow you to sue.
Labor Law 200 also imposes a duty to provide a reasonably safe work environment. We might point to certain features of the jobsite which violate this duty and contributed to your injury. If so, you can sue under this general duty as well.
As mentioned above, you might also sue a third-party for defective equipment or protection devices. Let our Syracuse construction accident lawyer review all the facts to determine who you should sue.
Our Consultations Are Free
Powers & Santola, LLP, has been in the business of helping injured construction workers for decades. You can rely on our deep experience of industrial regulations and state and federal laws to protect your rights. To find out more, call our law firm to schedule a free consultation with a member of our law firm. You have important deadlines to meet, so please avoid delay.