Construction Safety Day is almost here, so we’ve pulled together some statistics from the US Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as a cautionary tale. Whether you work in construction yourself or you know a loved one in the industry, it’s worth learning more about how to prevent construction accidents and injuries.
Why Is Construction So Dangerous?
In 2014, one in five deaths on the job were in construction – that means one industry is responsible for over 20% of job fatalities (874 deaths). Over half of construction deaths fell into one of four categories which are so common that OSHA has a name for them: the Fatal Four. If we could eradicate deaths caused by the Fatal Four categories, we could save 508 lives per year.
The Fatal Four Categories of Construction Deaths
Falling: Almost 40% of all construction deaths are a result of falling.
Electrocution: 8.5% of construction deaths in 2014 were caused by contact with a live electrical component which resulted in electrocution.
Struck by an Object: People who died by being struck by a falling or protruding object made up 8.4% of construction deaths.
Caught In or Between Something: Accidents which caused death by trapping people between objects (or being caught in machinery) represented only 1.4% of construction deaths.
Are Construction Accidents Preventable?
The sad news is that falls, the biggest of the Fatal Four categories, could largely be prevented if OSHA standards were observed by all construction employers. According to OSHA, fall protection is the number one most frequently cited violation of its guidelines. Falling is so common that OSHA has created an entire website dedicated to preventing falling construction accidents.
Tips for Fall Prevention
- Harnesses: On roofs, wear one, make sure it fits, and always keep it connected to the lifeline.
- Guardrails: Guard or cover all openings, including skylights. Inspect them to make sure they are sturdy before using them. If an opening isn’t protected, don’t work near it.
- Ladders: Maintain three points of contact and secure the ladder before using it. Always face the ladder and never stand on the top step. Never reach for something far away that causes your weight to become imbalanced on the ladder.
If you’ve been in construction accident, know your rights. You may be entitled to worker’s compensation benefits, reimbursement of medical costs and lost wages, and other legal compensation. Talk to our construction accident lawyers to learn more.