Falling accidents kill the most construction workers, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The other three members of the “Fatal Four” are being struck by an object, getting caught in or between objects, and electrocution, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These four accidents were responsible for 602 deaths (64 percent of the 937 construction workers who died) in 2015, reports the “National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2015.”
How many construction workers die from falls?
Over 360 construction workers died from falls in 2015. Nearly 40 percent of all construction worker fatalities were from falls to a lower level.
Within the construction industry, specialty contractors had the highest spike in fatal injuries. Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors had a 27 percent increase in fatal injuries from 2014 to 2015.
Over 40 percent of all fatal falls in the construction industry resulted from heights of 15 feet or less. Roofers have the fourth highest fatal fall rate among workers. Over 35 percent of all fatal construction site falls between 2003 and 2013 were from roofs, reports the BLS. Almost a quarter of fall fatalities were from falling off ladders, and 15 percent were the result of falling off scaffolding and staging.
How does this compare to other industries?
Among all industries, there were 800 fatal falls, slips, and trips on American worksites in 2015. One hundred twenty-five of these were falls on the same level. Six hundred forty-eight (81 percent of all fatal falls) were falls to a lower level. Within the fatal “falls to a lower level” category, 55 were falls from collapsing structures or equipment, and 87 were falls through a surface or an existing opening.
Can we do anything to prevent fatal falls on construction sites?
OSHA considers fatal falls in the construction industry preventable. For several years, OSHA has tried to raise awareness of common fall hazards in construction. By partnering with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and National Occupational Research Agenda, OSHA is educating employers and workers on how to prevent falls from ladders, scaffolds, and roofs.
OSHA urges employers to build the cost of safety equipment, including personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) into estimates when bidding on jobs.
All companies whose employees do roofing work should provide and require the use of personal fall arrest systems, including harnesses for all workers. To decrease the number of falls on construction sites, employers should also:
- Provide fall protection and ladders, scaffolding, and safety gear appropriate to the job.
- Identify hazards on the job site before work begins.
- Develop a safety plan should be developed to prevent falls from hazards, such as skylights and holes.
Properly train all workers on job sites to safely set up and use job equipment.
- Provide fall protection for all workers who are six feet or more above lower levels on the job.
If your employer put your safety on the line and you were injured or your loved one was killed in a construction site accident, you may be entitled to compensation. The construction site accident lawyers at the Montero Law Center can help. Call us today at 954-767-6500 to set up your free, no-obligation consultation.