Industrial Accidents in Virginia
All workplaces are dangerous. However, industrial accidents in Virginia are more likely to occur in heavy manufacturing or on building sites. Every year, scores of injuries occur at shipyards in Hampton Roads, at chemical plants, or at construction sites.
We hope you never suffer an industrial accident. If you are involved in an industrial accident in Virginia, you may be able to claim workers’ compensation or to sue your employer in a personal injury lawsuit.
If you or a family member is injured in an industrial accident, you should contact an injury lawyer. At the Smith Law Center, our attorneys for the injured have been helping the victims of industrial accidents in Virginia and elsewhere for decades.
What Are the Most Dangerous Workplaces in Virginia?
Some jobs are more dangerous than others. Every year, the government publishes a list of the most deadly jobs. However, accidents occur in workplaces that we don’t always associate with injuries. For instance, the healthcare industry sees many injuries caused by lifting and wheeling around patients.
In 2018, USA Today listed the 25 most dangerous jobs in America. Logging was once again highlighted as the most deadly job.
The industry had a fatal injury rate of 135.9 per 100,000 workers in 2016. Logging is very demanding and accidents often occur in remote areas where it takes hours for help to get to injured workers.
Commercial fishing is the second most dangerous profession. Virginia has commercial fisheries in places like Hampton and on the Chesapeake Bay.
This is physical work that can lead to back and neck injuries. Fishers and related workers are often exposed to dangerous weather conditions at sea. Government statistics found there were 86 deaths for every 100,000 full-time workers in the fishing industry in 2016, the second highest of any job.
Other professions listed in the top 10 most dangerous are pilots, roofers, steel workers, refuse collectors, truck drivers, and farm workers.
When accidents occur, a manager, building owner, or an employer may be held liable for failing to provide a safe working environment.
Types of Industrial Accident and Injury
Falls and Slips
Falls from scaffolding and slips on uneven or slippery surfaces are among the most common types of industrial accidents. Falls account for more than a third of all deaths in construction, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Roofers face particular dangers from falls. Employers and managers are responsible for giving workers proper training to prevent falls and for providing equipment like harnesses and non-slip footwear to prevent musculoskeletal injuries.
Falling objects are another significant cause of industrial accidents. In industries such as shipbuilding, very heavy objects are moved around. Even an item as small as a hammer falling from a scaffolding on a building site can cause a serious or fatal head injury. Workers should be trained in the appropriate placement of objects and correct operation of cranes.
Electrocution and Electric shock
Electricity is a potential hazard in most industrial settings. Electricians face the highest risk but we have seen cases in Virginia in which landscapers have been killed or seriously injured when they came into contact with live wires. Electrocution and electrical shocks occur in a wide range of industrial settings in Virginia.
Chemical Burns and Exposure to Toxic Substances
Many industries use hazardous chemicals. Oil workers, sanitation personnel, railroad workers, and tanker truck drivers can face exposure to chemicals during accidents. As well as chemical burns, hazardous materials like chlorine are linked to potentially-fatal respiratory problems. An employer must label all chemicals and provide adequate training.
Workers in a wide range of industries are required to lift heavy loads on a daily basis. On occasions, employers or managers demand workers lift objects that are too heavy. Industries such as healthcare see large numbers of back injuries caused by repetitive lifting. Over time, back, spinal, and arm and leg injuries may occur from lifting. Employers should train workers on how to use supportive equipment and correct lifting techniques.
How Is Workplace Safety Regulated
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) oversees the safety of more than 130 million workers each year.
OSHA was created in on December 29, 1970. President Richard Nixon set up the agency by signing The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, also known as the Williams-Steiger Act in honor of the two men who fought for its passage.
Injuries and deaths in the workplace rose rapidly in the 1960s, leading to a public outcry. Industrial accidents in Virginia and elsewhere are reported to OSHA which investigates the circumstances. Employers must report all workplace injuries to OSHA.
Personal Injury Litigation and Workers’ Compensation
Industrial accidents in Virginia often leave terrible injuries or deaths. In many cases, the negligence of an employer, a building site manager or a contractor may have contributed to an injury. You should talk to an experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer about liability.
Injured workers may also receive workers’ compensation after an accident under the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act. This is a no-fault system meaning you can receive workers’ compensation payments even if you were responsible or partly responsible for your injury.
The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission states injured workers should report an accident with injuries to their employer immediately. A claim must be filed with the Commission no later than two years after the accident. Workers’ compensation is also available for a work-related disease.
Your employer should file a report of the accident or the occupational disease with the Commission within 10 days of the accident or the notification.
Workers’ compensation claims are complicated and involve considerable paperwork. A Virginia injury lawyer can help you make a compensation claim. Often employers will seek to deny these claims.
Contact an Attorney over Industrial Accidents in Virginia
If you or a family member has been hurt in an industrial accident in Virginia or elsewhere, you should contact our injury lawyers as soon as possible. We have helped many injured workers. Often employers fail to protect the rights of those who work for them. Call us at 757.244.7000.