Can a construction worker receive compensation after a welding accident?
Welders risk injury every day because of the dangerous equipment they use. Even when a veteran welder has practiced all safety protocols, accidents can still happen. The U.S. Department of Labor estimated that 4 out of every 1,000 welders will face a fatal injury while on the job, and countless more will be injured.
While welders have one of the most important jobs on construction sites, they also face some of the highest risks. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that around 560,000 welders are injured on the job each year.
When a welder is injured on the job, they typically have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia. But it’s important to report the injury to your employer as soon as possible, or else your benefits may be denied. Unfortunately, some workers are given the runaround and have to fight for their benefits.
If you have been injured on the job, Gerber & Holder is here to help.
Common types of welding injuries
Multiple catastrophic injuries may occur when a welder is hurt on the job. Having the right training and safety equipment cuts down on the risks, but it’s impossible to make welding completely safe. The following are some of the most common injuries welders face:
- Burns. Considering that this profession uses extreme heat to melt metal into a molten liquid, it’s common for welders to experience severe burns—some of which can be life-threatening or result in permanent disfigurement. Not only is a welder in danger of burns, but those who work around them are also at risk. Even if a person was not welding and was burned by heat or flying sparks, they can still file a workers’ compensation claim.
- Eye injuries. Eye injuries can also occur because of excessive heat and light. Welders should always wear their protective helmets and face masks while welding. Burns to the eyes can cause blindness due to damage to the retinas.
Other common welding injuries include:
- Toxic fume inhalation
- Hearing damage or loss
- Exposure to infrared radiation
- Exposure to UV light
Common causes of welding injuries
While there are many possible factors that can cause a welding job to go wrong, the following 3 factors single-handedly cause thousands of welding injuries and deaths each year:
- Electricity. Welders work with electrical arc circuits that go as high as 100 volts. A 50-volt shock can stop the heart from pumping. Any level of voltage has the potential to cause fatalities.
- Gas. The gases released during the welding process can cause respiratory illnesses, breathing impairments and even lung cancer. These gases can be greatly reduced with proper ventilation.
- Fire. Welding arc temperatures can go extremely high, up to 10,000 degrees. The risk of fires can come from extreme heat or even spark exposure. In rare cases, explosions have even occurred.
Injured welders and construction workers have rights
If you were injured in a serious welding accident, you most likely have the ability to pursue workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits replace a portion of your lost wages and pay for medical care. Workers’ compensation protects both employers and their injured workers. The no-fault system is meant to be non-adversarial, which simply means no one has to “take the blame” for the accident. As a result, injured workers can receive much-needed benefits faster.
Depending on the cause of their injuries, injured workers may have the right to file a third-party injury lawsuit against another worker or a manufacturer. Also, in the event of fatal welding accidents, the surviving immediate family members have the right to death benefits.
Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws are meant to provide benefits to you and your family while you recover. Unfortunately, these laws can be difficult to understand and even harder to access.
Fortunately, we are here to help. From start to finish, Gerber & Holder works to ensure our injured clients get the best outcome available for their workers’ compensation claim. We can skillfully negotiate with your employer (and their insurance company) to hold them accountable for treating you fairly and paying what you are owed.
Don’t allow your employer or their insurance company to cause you further stress. Let us take care of every step in the process. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation to get started.