On January 17, a security guard at the Indiana State Fairgrounds sustained an injury in a hit-and-run accident involving two suspected car thieves. According to the IndyStar, another member of the fairgrounds security force had alerted the security guard to the alleged theft and fleeing suspects.
As he spotted the pair trying to leave the fairgrounds through a nearby gate, he attempted to approach the vehicle. When the security guard stepped off the curb near Gate 6 and Fall Creek Parkway, he was struck by the vehicle. The suspects did not stop to render aid. As a result of the hit-and-run accident, the security guard sustained a broken arm and contusions. Fortunately, he is going to be okay.
Business owners, homeowners, property owners and others often hire security guards to protect individuals and property. While the job may not seem dangerous to some, security guards face countless on-the-job risks and hazards as an inherent part of their chosen profession. In many cases, security guards will often become first responders or the first line of defense in the event of a critical or emergency situation.
If you are currently working as a security guard, or you are looking to get into the industry, we recommend you take the time to learn about the common injuries you could face and do what you can to gain a comprehensive understanding of a security officer’s legal rights. Your future may depend on it.
Physical Attacks and Acts of Violence
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that security guards are most at risk for sustaining fatal injuries in an assault or violent attack. In fact, statistics show that between 2003 and 2009, 59.6 percent of all fatal work injuries and 15 percent of all non-fatal occupational injuries among security guards resulted from assaults.
Getting into confrontations with those suspected of trespassing, theft or some other types of criminal acts can often result in a physical attack. Injuries from these types of incidents can range anywhere from lacerations and bruises, to broken bones, serious head trauma, knife or gunshot wounds, and various other life-threatening injuries. The most dangerous hours for on-duty security guards are between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. An estimated 65.3 percent of all fatal injuries for security guards occur during overnight hours.
Security guards, like police officers and other first responders, face a significant risk of sustaining an injury in a vehicle-related accident. The risk is the same whether a security guard is responding to an emergency call for assistance, driving on patrol around the property he or she is assigned to protect, or racing to check out suspicious activity.
Transportation incidents are the next most common cause of fatal injury to security guards. While these types of accidents are far less common than physical attacks, an estimated 20.9 percent of fatal injuries sustained by security guards between 2003 and 2009, and nine percent of non-fatal work injuries, were caused by transportation incidents.
Exposure to Harmful Substances
Most people would not necessarily expect security guards to be at risk of sustaining injury due to exposure to harmful substances. However, security guards can be exposed, for example, during a fire, or as a result of a spilled chemical or harmful liquid, or from a lack of proper safety procedures. In these types of situations, unless protective clothing and respiratory gear is worn, serious harm is likely to result.
An estimated 6.8 percent of all fatal security guard injuries and 3.3 percent of all non-fatal security guard injuries between 2003 and 2009 were caused as a result of a security guard being exposed to harmful substances or environments. Injuries a security guard may face from this type of accidental exposure can include severe burns, respiratory damage, as well as injury to one’s eyes and internal organs.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Security guards, like many individuals, are at risk for sustaining an injury in a slip and fall, trip and fall, or fall accident. Uneven sidewalks, lack of routine maintenance, insufficient lighting, failure to place proper warning signs, and many other types of negligence on the part of the property owner could result in serious injury or death.
Falls are one of the most common types of injury accidents for security guards. An estimated 30.5 percent of all non-fatal injuries and 6.6 percent of all fatal injuries to security guards happen as a result of some type of fall. Another 6.1 percent of non-fatal work injuries sustained by security guards are caused by slips and trips.
The most common injuries sustained in these types of accidents involve bruised or broken bones, neck or back injuries, and traumatic head injuries. There are instances when a fall, particularly one from a substantial height, can be fatal.
Contact with Objects and Equipment
When a security guard’s job takes him or her into an unfamiliar area or dark space, the probability of sustaining injury from contact with an object or piece of equipment increases significantly. The same is true of security officers who are pursuing a suspect, or racing to respond to an emergency situation. In these types of incidents, the guard’s attention may not be necessarily focused on his or her surroundings, but rather on the job at hand.
Between 2003 and 2009, contact with objects and equipment was responsible for causing 4.7 percent of all fatal security guard injuries, and 14 percent of all non-fatal work injuries among security guards.
Overexertion can also cause injury to security guards. In fact, eight percent of all reported non-fatal injuries among security guards resulted from overexertion. Having to work long hours, standing in the hot summer sun, or having to cover more ground or duties beyond a work assignment, are all examples of actions that could cause a security guard to become overexerted.
Your Security Guard Legal Rights
As a security guard, you have certain rights. If you are injured on the job, you should be eligible to file a benefits claim with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider. Workers injured on the job or during the course of performing their work-related duties, have the legal right to seek financial benefits to cover medical costs and a portion of their lost wages. In the event a security guard is killed on the job, his or her family has the right to seek workers’ comp death benefits.
When a security guard is injured or killed as a result of a third party’s actions or inaction, the security guard may potentially have a legal case against that individual. If this should occur to you, it is recommended you seek legal counsel to help you file a lawsuit to recover damages you may be rightfully owed. Call Sevenish Law Firm now to discuss your case with a skilled Indianapolis personal injury attorney.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Preparing and Protecting Security Personnel in Emergencies