On a daily basis, the men and women who work at active construction sites are exposed to numerous hazards. According to the Occupation Safety and Health Administration; falls, electrocutions, being caught in or between and being struck by are all leading causes of injury and death in the construction industry.
OSHA reports that more than 20 percent of the fatal workplace accidents that occurred during 2014 occurred within the construction industry. Of the 874 construction workers who suffered fatal injuries while on the job, nearly 40 percent died from injuries suffered in a fall. During this same year, both electrocutions and being struck by an object accounted for roughly eight-and-a-half percent of construction fatalities, while accidents involving workers who were caught in or between represented less than two percent of fatal accidents.
In an effort to reduce the risks that construction workers will suffer injuries or harm due to one of these key hazards, OSHA advises that employers take the following steps:
- Falls – Ensure that workers are equipped with fall-protection gear, utilize perimeter protections, employ the safe use of scaffolding and ladders and makes sure floor openings are covered and appropriately labeled.
- Electrocutions – Locate all utility and power sources prior to starting a project, ensure workers use caution when carrying out assigned tasks or operating equipment near power sources and lines and utilize ground-fault circuit interrupters.
- Struck-by – Ensure workers wear high-visibility clothing and communicate that workers should not put their bodies “between moving and fixed objects.”
- Caught-in / between – Make sure that proper sloping, shoring and benching perimeters are followed when digging trenches or carrying out excavation work and ensure that trenches which are five feet or deeper have an “adequate protective system in place.”
Source: OSHA, “Top Four Construction Hazards,” Feb. 22, 2016
OSHA, “commonly used statistics,” Feb. 22, 2016