The construction industry is known for a lot of work hazards that put workers’ lives in jeopardy. This is one of the reasons why the industry is where a lot of injuries and fatalities occur, especially when considering the various activities being done at construction sites and the conditions in which they are exposed to.
Statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed that 4,628 workers were killed on the job. At least 4,175 of them happened in the private industry. Of the said figure, 19.3 percent of them, or 806 deaths, occurred in construction sites. More than half of the accidents (54 percent) were caused by the so-called “fatal four” of the construction industry:
- Falls. Construction workers performing work at a certain height are exposed to fall hazards, which is the reason why it is the leading cause of death among the four. Of the 806 deaths in 2012, 279 were killed because of falls.
- Struck-by object accidents. Exposure to falling or flying objects in the construction site contributes to struck-by accidents. Of the total number of construction accident deaths in 2012, 79 of them were because objects falling from a certain height.
- Electrical accidents. At least 66 construction site deaths were because of electrocutions. Workers are likewise exposed to electrical equipment and wiring’s that any mishandling could yield disastrous results.
- Caught-in or between accidents. Only 13 fatalities caused by such mishaps were recorded in 2012. Hazards at excavations and trenching works expose workers to potential lack of oxygen, getting pinned because of cave-ins, or fires and explosions due to flammable gases.
Indeed, these four major causes of construction accidents all over the U.S. are no laughing matter. However, the likelihood of them happening in construction sites can be reduced, if not totally eliminated, if safety training is prioritized. According to a Los Angeles construction accident lawyer, newly-hired workers, as well as workers who are not fluent in English, are highly at risk of getting involved in an accident either because they lacked training or because they don’t understand the training being taught in English.
Safety training is an investment that could yield results in the long run. It starts with those who are in-charge of the construction endeavor, who are the leaders expected to ensure workers’ safety. It is their responsibility to ensure that their workers are properly trained, particularly in the language that they could understand. Apart from training, it is their duty to adhere with the federal safety regulations and requirements set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as well as with the updates from the federal agency.
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