Bricklayer Accident & Workers Compensation Lawyer
Working in Illinois as a bricklayer (mason worker) can be dangerous, even in safe work environments. Back injuries, hearing loss, exposure to hexavalent chromium, developing silicosis, slip & falls, toxic burns, and respiratory problems are just some of the side effects of working with cement-based materials, like mortar.
If you or a family member was injured while working as a bricklayer, you are likely entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Contact the Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC for more information and a free case evaluation of your legal rights and options.
Bricklayers, brick masons, and block masons lay various heavy building materials, including cinder blocks, concrete blocks, structural tile, bricks, terra-cotta blocks, glass blocks, and others.
These construction workers bind the material using cement-based mortar laced with various dangerous chemicals to build or repair brick/block walls, roads, partitions, sewer systems, fireplaces, soaking pits, cupolas, furnace stacks, chimneys, archways, and other residential and commercial structures.
According to data maintained by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, working as a bricklayer poses significant health risks due to numerous factors. Common hazards and potentially harmful effects of working as a mason, bricklayers or block layer include:
- Working at Great Heights – Falling from nearly any height over five or six feet has the potential for death or severe injury that can occur from a slip and fall or collapsing structure that results in bone fractures, impalements, and crushing injuries.
- Exposure to Cement-Based Products – Exposure to wet and dry mortar and other cement-based materials is known to cause dermatitis, respiratory problems from vapor inhalation, allergic reactions, skin burns, blindness, and other serious conditions.
- Working with Hand and Power Tools – Bricklayers use rotating saws, bricks saws, electric mixers, angle grinders, and other electrical equipment that, if used improperly, could cause facial injuries, eye injuries, lacerations, and amputation.
- Working on Unlevel Ground – Working on unsecured or unlevel scaffolding, ladders, and other structures could lead to dangerous falls from heights that might result in cuts, bruises, broken bones, lacerations, crushing injuries, impalement, and other serious wounds.
- Exposure to Excessive Noise – Laying, repairing, or replacing brick and blocks around excessively loud machinery for an extended time could cause significant hearing loss.
- Exposure to Overhead Obstructions – Many accidents involving bricklayers and block layers occur from overhead obstructions, electrical wires, power lines, cable conduits, and other structures that could lead to electrocution, electrical shock, tripping, and falling.
- Repetitive Motion and Handling Injuries - Many bricklayers must bend, reach, pull, stretch, lift, turn in awkward positions, and use repetitive motions every working day. Excessive stresses on the body can lead to musculoskeletal disorders involving strains, sprains, and ligaments/tendon injuries.
Other injuries occur when struck by machinery, slipping, tripping, and falling on untidy construction sites, working around combustible/flammable materials, working in confined spaces, foot and hand injuries, and exposure to asbestos dust.
A Bricklayer's Job
An average day in a bricklayer's life likely requires reading and comprehending drawings and blueprints that outline the job to help calculate required materials.
As a part of laying brick, the construction worker will need to cut or break materials to the appropriate size and then mix grout or mortar to spread on the foundation or slab.
The job will also require the construction worker to set the brick, point, or caulk the joint and eventually clean the brick once the mortar cures.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016 data concerning the previous year, 1570 bricklayers, brick masons, and block masons worked in the Chicago, Naperville, and Arlington Heights metropolitan areas. On average, mason workers in northeastern Illinois earn $74,680 annually (mean wage), or $35.90 per hour, significantly higher than the national averages. See Chart
The bricklayer will use plumb lines, levels, and other tools to ensure that each row of bricks or blocks is perfectly aligned, plumb, and square. The construction worker must understand the property of numerous kinds of dry and wet mortar material, hardening chemicals, and bonding ingredients.
Most bricklayers use chisels, hammers, masonry saws, and other equipment that cuts blocks to the appropriate size for functional design and an aesthetically pleasing look.
Some bricklayers and block layers line and reline furnaces, boilers, kilns, and other components using acid-resistant blocks and refractory bricks along with other concrete-based materials. Masons perform their work according to building codes and local, state, and federal regulations.
Injured Workers Health Risks
The state of Illinois and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) require employers who hire bricklayers, block layers, and masons to provide extensive safety education, training, and equipment. Your employer is legally bound to protect you and ensure that you are informed about the safety and health conditions.
Your boss must provide adequate information pertinent to your job along with instruction and supervision to ensure you work in a safe environment.
However, as an employee, you also have legal duties that must be followed. These duties include:
- Take reasonable measures to ensure your safety and health, along with the safety of others who your work might impact. The other individuals could include other construction workers, construction site visitors, and the public.
- Comply with every control measure and instruction provided by your employer, including wearing your PPE (personal protective equipment),
- Never misuse tools, equipment, practices, and training that could jeopardize the welfare, health, and safety of yourself or others.
Every bricklayer and another worker on the job site plays a part in creating and maintaining a safe work environment to ensure that everyone stays healthy, prevents injury, and never becomes complacent.
Every construction worker must inspect the equipment they use, report defects, check scaffolding, ladders, and towers to ensure all equipment is safely installed and secured.
Reported Bricklayer Fatalities
According to OSHA, statistics for 2015 revealed numerous fatalities occurring on the job involving brick and block layers. On September 21, 2015, a construction worker was “struck and killed by a hydraulic arm" at the construction site.
On June 16, 2015, a worker “was killed after getting caught in a brick setting machine. On March 10, 2015, “a worker died after falling and striking [their] head on a brick wall."
Other cases involving injury and death of bricklayers and other construction workers include:
- Case 1: A Chicago employee fell from a scaffold and sustained multiple injuries. On February 12, 2017, a 38-year-old union bricklayer was standing on an 11.5 foot-high mobile frame scaffold in the early evening before falling to the ground. The injured bricklayer sustained multiple musculoskeletal injuries and succumbed to his serious injuries the next day.
- Case 2: A Chicago worker was struck and killed by a falling brick. On February 4, 2017, a worker was cleaning up a commercial job site underneath newly installed masonry in the early afternoon. A section of masonry blocks fell from the third-floor exterior portion of the building and struck the employee on the head. The worker succumbed to their head injuries that included multiple skull fractures.
Construction Workers Safety and Health Training
The state of Illinois and OSHA mandates that every bricklayer receive safety and health training when first beginning the job and periodically throughout the year.
The training should include a discussion on:
- Safety measures involving working at heights
- The proper way to use hand and electrical tools
- Hygiene and health methods to prevent dermatitis and other skin conditions associated with exposure to chemicals and cement-based materials
- The proper use of scaffolding, ladders, and mobile towers (lifts)
- The dangers of cartridge tools and abrasive grinding wheels
- Safety measures around forklifts and other heavy equipment
- Refresher training throughout the year to minimize the potential for serious bricklayer accidents
Ensuring an employee is trained sufficiently can help avoid bricklayer accidents and exposures that could cause life-threatening illnesses.
There are certain steps that the bricklayer should take to minimize any potential harm to their health. These include:
- Hand Injuries – Typically, the hands come into contact every day at work with harmful or dangerous substances where the job's physical demands could lead to construction accidents. Additionally, defective tools, hot steel components, and catching falling objects could lead to a bricklayer accident.
- Personal Protective Equipment – Wearing gloves, alkali-resistant clothing, waterproof boots, respirators, and other equipment can help prevent the direct contact of wet mortar and chemicals to skin and eyes and silica dust that creates an increased risk of lung cancer or another occupational illness. Over time, constant contact could cause dermatitis, severe burns, and blindness.
- Respiratory Equipment – Wearing a respirator can minimize exposure to breathing asbestos dust that is highly dangerous because it causes severe damage to the lungs, including cancer. The repairing or reconstructing of old brickwork in buildings constructed before the early 1980s could release asbestos fibers into the air, especially if using grinders and saws.
- Working at Heights – Bricklayers could be seriously or fatally injured in a fall accident from a scaffold, ladder, or another high area at construction sites. Scaffolding problems are serious concerns and require special attention because the scaffold structure could collapse, leading to crushing injuries. Weather conditions, including strong wind, could have a significant effect on stability when working from an elevated area.
- Working on Ladders – Bricklayers requires both hands to perform their job and should never climb or stand on the ladder on an unlevel surface. The ladder must be in good operating condition and be routinely examined to ensure it remains free of defects.
- Falling Construction Materials – You can seriously injure your skull, shoulders, body, feet, arms, legs, or another body part if an object falls from any height. The construction site should use brick guards to help position the material to ensure you remain safe.
- Manual Handling – Receiving proper training can minimize the potential of suffering catastrophic injuries and extensive long-term pain and discomfort. These problems are often the result of carrying or lifting heavy loads routinely while transporting brick, mortar, and other materials up the scaffold to every level. The repetitive motion of working as a bricklayer can cause carpal tunnel syndrome and other issues with the hands, fingers, wrist, arms, shoulders, and back. These problems are often the result of carrying or lifting heavy loads routinely while transporting brick, mortar, and other materials up the scaffold to every level.
- Electrical Shock and Electrocution – Working with electrical tools is a major concern on a construction site, especially when the area is wet. Electrocution and electrical shock can happen under various conditions, including when the cord is cut, stripped, or broken.
Workers' Compensation for Bricklayer Accidents
Injured bricklayers and other workers suffering a personal injury while on the job can file for workers' compensation benefits for all harm on the job. Every employer must maintain workers' compensation insurance that will pay for all medical treatment, lost wages, and total/partial disability.
However, the insurance does not cover non-economic damages like pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
A bricklayer accident lawyer could determine that a negligent third party might also be responsible for the injured victims' damages, as a general contractor or subcontractors at the construction site.
Call our personal injury law office to schedule a free consultation to discuss filing a worker's compensation claim or a third-party lawsuit.
Bricklayer Accident Injury Lawyers Representing Injured Bricklayers
According to Illinois tort civil law, any bricklayer who is injured on the job or develops health problems due to exposure to conditions at work is afforded the opportunity to file a claim for worker's compensation.
Additionally, the worker may be entitled to additional benefits exceeding Worker's Comp by filing a claim or lawsuit against any third-party responsible for their injury/illness.
Have you sustained injuries in an accident or incident involving your job? If so, using a lawyer to represent you in your case could be a wise decision.
The Chicago work accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers (888-424-5757) successfully assist our clients with Worker's Comp benefits and investigate their case to determine if additional third parties might also be involved.
The attorneys at our law firms work hard to ensure you receive the fair compensation you deserve for your damages.
Contact a Chicago Bricklayer Workers Compensation & Injury Law Firm
Our bricklayer accident injury lawyers do not require that you pay any upfront fees or retainers because our personal injury law firm accepts all job-related injury cases through contingency fee arrangements.
This agreement means all payments for your legal fees are postponed until the lawyers have successfully resolved your case in a jury trial or an out-of-court settlement negotiated on your behalf.
Contact our Chicago bricklayer accident attorneys at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with your experienced attorney remains private through an attorney-client relationship.