Construction Accidents Account for One in Five Work DeathsJuly 26, 2018
It’s not surprising that while on the job we make a mistake or two. After all, we’re only human. But while some mistakes can be remedied, and some can cost you your job, there are also mistakes that can cost you your life.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is responsible for the oversight of safety in the workplace, in 2016 there were 5,190 workers killed on the job (3.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers). This equates to 99 per week or more than 14 deaths per day. In 2016, within the private industry, 21.1percent of worker fatalities occurred in construction. This means that out of 4,963 workers who were killed in the private industry, 991 of them were in construction.
The leading causes of private sector worker deaths (excluding highway collisions) in the construction industry were falls (38.7 percent). According to Safety+Health Magazine – The Official Magazine of the National Safety Council Congress & Expo, 54 percent of workers killed in 2015 had no access to a personal fall arrest system and the 23 percent who did, did not use it. Of the falls in 2015, 20 percent of the deaths occurred in the victims’ first couple of months on the job, and surprisingly, less than one third of falls were from 30 feet or higher.
According to OSHA, this is followed by struck by object (9.4 percent), electrocutions (8.3 percent), and caught-in/between (7.3 percent). These “Fatal Four” were responsible for more than half (63.7 percent) of the construction worker deaths in 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Eliminating the Fatal Four would save 631 workers’ lives in America every year.
In 2017, the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards that were violated included:
- Fall protection, construction
- Scaffolding, general requirements, construction
- Ladders, construction
- Fall protection, training requirements
The OSHA statistics aren’t all bad. On average, worker deaths have decreased from about 38 worker deaths per day in 1970 to 14 per day in 2016. Additionally, worker illnesses and injuries have also decreased from 10.9 incidents per 100 workers in 1972 to 2.9 per 100 in 2016.
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