Contractors Work Against Foot Injury: Building a Case for Safer Work Sites
Posted by Jenn F. on Thursday, January 24th, 2013
Contractors have tough jobs. They are responsible for the day-to-day supervision of a construction site. That means they have to have a comprehensive knowledge of all things construction: from materials to design to best practices. They’re in charge of keeping a group of workers on task and focused in an environment that may not be conducive to close attention. Construction sites are loud and bustling. There are often a million things going on at once, and each small job must contribute to the whole. A misplaced nail, a poorly measured 2×4, or an unevenly cut corner can set a project back days, even weeks. And on a large project with a large team of workers, it’s easy to miss a few details. That’s when accidents happen. Contractors are frequently injured on-site. A full 83% of these injuries are to the foot or ankle. Let’s try to understand why this is the case, and what contractors can do to protect themselves.
When a contractor is working with his hands, he isn’t thinking about his feet. It’s easy to forget that you’re standing on uneven ground, or that your feet are the only things anchoring you to a rung on a precariously placed ladder. Sprains and strains make up 42% of foot/ankle injuries on site. These result from poorly placed steps, falls from ladders, quick dodges to avoid exposed beams, and any number of other movements that twist or jam feet and ankles. Falling objects also tend to hit the feet, the last part of the body we pull away to avoid impact. Contusions, lacerations and fractures make up 23% of the foot injuries on construction sites.
Many of these injuries could be prevented with stricter safety guideline adherence. Independent contractors are obligated to meet certain regulations in order to get licensed, but during the workday it’s their vigilance that often means the difference between safety and injury. While contractors typically have worker’s compensation insurance that covers them and their employees in case of injury, avoiding the injury is always preferable. First, recovery is often long and painful. Second, the worker’s comp wage replacement is significantly less than a full-time wage. So, injured contractors may suffer grave financial consequences from missed work, ending up with back independent contractor taxes, unpaid bills, bankruptcy, and debt lawyers.
So what can contractors do to protect themselves?
- Hire reliable construction workers that you trust. The more competent your team is, the less likely you will be to encounter unsafe conditions.
- Use your worker’s compensation to seek care at the first sign of injury. Visit The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine for a consultation.
- Assess your safety protocols and add additional safeguards. While triple-checking may be annoying, it’s always better than causing injuries.
- Make sure you have robust insurance so you’re legally protected should you or your workers get hurt.
- If you are injured, don’t return to work until you are completely healed.
- Always wear appropriate safety clothing including steel-toed shoes.
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.