If you work in the construction industry, you may expect to break a bone or injure your back in a workplace accident. While these injuries may be serious and interfere with your ability to perform your job duties, an internal injury may put your life in jeopardy.
An internal injury involves damage to organs in your head, chest or abdomen. On construction sites, these injuries tend to occur for two reasons: blunt-force trauma and penetrative trauma.
Blunt-force trauma is an injury due to an object that does not penetrate your skin. This type of trauma is so common on construction sites the Occupational Safety and Health Administration includes it in its list of the four accidents that are often fatal for construction workers.
Depending on your job duties, you may be vulnerable to blunt-force trauma in the following ways:
- Falling from a ladder, scaffold or platform
- Hitting your head, chest or stomach on a falling or fixed object
- Colliding with a forklift, loader or another piece of heavy equipment
Unlike blunt-force trauma where your skin remains intact, penetrative trauma occurs when something enters your body. With penetrative trauma, you may be at increased risk of internal and external bleeding. Your heart, lungs, brain, liver and other internal organs may also be vulnerable to substantial damage from projectiles at your job site.
You must never take a wait-and-see approach to potential internal injuries, as these injuries are often medical emergencies that require immediate treatment. Ultimately, going to the emergency room following any workplace accident is the most effective way to ensure you have not suffered a catastrophic internal injury.