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In comparison to the national average of workplace accidents, bricklayers and masons are more susceptible to illnesses and injuries on the job. This also holds true for the construction industry at large. According to researchers and government bodies, there are certain situations and conditions that are more likely to cause an on-the-job injury or work-related illness.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that the majority of bricklayers and masons in the country are in New York State. According to one study, laborers were more likely to experience injuries or accidents at job sites compared to supervisors or masons.

The Center for Construction Research and Training revealed in a 2o10 report that the primary cause of death among masons and bricklayers is plummeting to a lower level.

There are various measures that labor unions and industry groups have proposed to mitigate the dangers at construction sites that impact bricklayers and masons. These include creating stocks of blocks and bricks higher in order to reduce twisting and bending as well as the use of adjustable scaffolding to ensure that construction workers do not have to reach above their heads when working.

What Work do Bricklayers and Masons Perform?

Worker on a Roof

Bricklayers and masons perform the following tasks:

  • Mixing mortar
  • Handling materials
  • Layout
  • Installing steel components
  • Grinding
  • Laying blocks
  • Installing and dismantling scaffolding
  • Shoring
  • Grouting
  • Repair of equipment

Common Injuries that Impact Bricklayers

Some common injuries that affect bricklayers include musculoskeletal injuries, which occur due to lifting heavy loads of construction materials, such as bricks.

Bricklaying involves actions such as twisting, bending, and squatting. On average, a mason lays around 1,000 bricks on a working day. This can cause substantial repetitive motion strain. Other common injuries include fractured bones, head injuries, and cuts.

The following are some common accidents that bricklayers are at risk of experiencing:

  • Falls: The frenzied character of construction sites creates many trip-and-fall risks. Scaffold or ladders falls are especially dangerous and can cause devastating injuries.
  • Crushing or impacts: An impact injury or being crushed by equipment or other heavy objects at the job site is a real danger for bricklayers. A ramp or container with bricks on a pulley or heavy equipment presents the risk of a catastrophic accident.
  • Falling construction materials: Bricklayers typically work near or beneath other workers at the construction site. This creates the danger of being hit by a falling object. Another worker may drop a tool, building materials may descend from a balcony, or any other object used above a bricklayer may land on them, causing grave injuries.
  • Electrocution: At construction sites, electric shocks are a common occurrence due to the presence of various sources of electricity, such as power lines.

Some devastating injuries that New York City bricklayers experience include:

  • Fractured bones
  • Injuries to the face
  • Traumatic amputations
  • Injuries to the neck and shoulder
  • Traumatic brain damage
  • Injuries to the spinal cord

Causes for Bricklayer and Mason Injuries

In the construction industry, masonry is seen as one of the high-risk occupations not only due to the chances of developing back, leg, and muscle issues as a consequence of repetitive motions necessitated by the work. Scaffolding and ladder falls are other major reasons for injuries and fatalities among this section of construction workers.

Bricklayers also face the risk of being hit by a hurtling or swinging object, which is another significant reason for injuries or fatalities among bricklayers and masons. Masonry also creates silica dust, which is a fourth cause of injury and illness in this group of workers. A fifth hazard is sustaining cuts by the sharp equipment used in this line of work.

Risk Factors for Musculoskeletal Injuries

Through jobsite observations and ergonomic analysis, the factors that cause a high risk of construction work-related musculoskeletal injuries were singled out.

  • Workers usually undertake over 1,000 tasks that involve forward bending in every shift. This puts them at risk of developing problems in the low-back.
  • Workers who are required to lay block and brick above shoulder level face an increased risk of developing wrist, shoulder, and arm conditions.
  • Environmental factors, such as inclement weather and strong winds, affect masonry workers. Mason tenders and bricklayer are vulnerable to falls, slips, and trips as their job involve working or walking on grimy, icy, or uneven surfaces.
  • Workers typically make use of 12-inch trowels to allow them to lay more mortar at each application; however, this also puts them at a higher risk of developing wrist and elbow injuries.
  • When lifting and fixing blocks, many workers choose to wear gloves. Gloves have an adverse effect on grip strength.
  • Muscle tension and a higher probability of sustaining an injury can also be the result of the pressure to maintain the expected production rate (around 600 bricks or 200 blocks per day).

Training on Health and Safety

According to OSHA mandates, every bricklayer should undergo health and safety training when commencing the job as well as at other times throughout the year. The following areas should be a part of this training:

  • Safety steps involving working at elevations
  • The correct way to use electrical and hand equipment
  • Precautions and health measures to avoid developing dermatitis and other skin issues related to exposure to cement-based substances and chemicals
  • The correct use of ladders, lifts (mobile towers), and scaffolding
  • The hazards of abrasive grinding wheels and cartridge tools
  • Safety steps in the vicinity of forklifts and other heavy construction equipment, including carrying loads and working around equipment
  • Familiarization training to ensure that workers understand how to use tools in a safe manner
  • Refresher training sessions during the year to reduce the possibility of accidents

Proper training to employees can help avoid grave accidents and exposures that could lead to life-threatening health conditions. A driven and productive workforce results from effective health and safety measures.

Personal Protective Equipment 

To protect the eyes and skin, construction workers can wear gloves, alkali-resistant clothes, waterproof shoes, and other gear that avoids direct contact with chemicals and wet mortar. Constant contact over a span of time could lead to serious burns, impaired vision, and dermatitis.

Respiratory Equipment 

The use of a respirator can significantly reduce exposure to breathing asbestos dust. This dust has been shown to be highly damaging as it causes severe lung problems, including cancer. The reconstruction or repair of old brickwork in edifices that were made before the early 1980s could cause asbestos fibers to be released in the air, particularly if saws and grinders are used.


The supervisor, foreman, manager, general contractor, or any other person in control of the job site is required by the law to make sure that every worker, employee, and visitor is safe at the construction site at all times.

Also, the jobsite manager should provide workers with a health and hygiene area that includes a toilet, restroom, and a separate space to wash the face, arms, and hands to allow them to cleanse harmful chemicals, cement dust/asbestos, and other damaging substances such as mortar and wet concrete.

Construction Injury Lawyers Representing Bricklayer and Masons in NYC

New York laws stipulate that any bricklayer who sustains an injury on the job site or develops medical conditions because of exposure at work can file a worker’s compensation claim. Also, the worker may be eligible for other benefits besides the Worker’s Compensation by bringing a lawsuit or filing a claim against third parties accountable for their illness or injuries.

In case you sustained injuries or developed an illness due to an accident or incident at your job site, an experienced attorney can represent your case to make sure you receive your rightful compensation. The attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP are highly skilled and knowledgeable on bricklayer injury claims and have assisted numerous construction workers in successfully claiming damages. Contact us today at (212) 210-1633 for a free consultation.


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New York, NY 10168

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Brooklyn, NY 11238

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