According to OSHA, the fatal injury rate in construction is higher than the national average for all industries.
Sadly, the numbers still aren’t going down.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its worker injury numbers for 2016, the most recent year available. Unfortunately, the news isn’t good. Workplace fatalities in the U.S. rose 7%, to a total of 5,190.
22% of these fatal injuries were in the construction industry. Deadly injuries among “construction trades workers” increased 6%, or a total of 991 fatalities.
“Struck-by-an-object” injuries accounted for 9.4% of construction worker deaths. Analysts categorize these types of accidents as either strikes by a vehicle, or by an “object or equipment.”
This isn’t the first time analysts have singled out struck-by injuries as a concerning cause of fatalities for construction workers.
According to the Center for Construction Research and Training, struck-by incidents contributed to 804 construction worker fatalities from 2011 to 2015. In comparison, the transportation industry saw 623 fatal struck-by injuries, while the manufacturing industry saw 344.
- 51% of construction workers were struck by falling objects or equipment
- Of those construction workers who died from bring struck by equipment or an object, 19% were struck by machinery, and 18% were struck by building materials
- 33% of construction workers were struck by non-transport vehicles
- Most deaths (57%) occurred in work zones
- 19% happened in non-roadway areas
- “Construction laborers” had the highest number of fatal struck-by injuries in the construction industry
- “Highway maintenance workers” had the highest struck-by fatality rate across all industries.
The good news is that these sorts of injuries are preventable. The Center for Construction Research and Training suggests the following solutions that will drastically reduce stuck-by injuries and fatalities across all industries:
- Back-up cameras and alarms for both transport and non-transport vehicles to protect workers on construction sites.
- Hard hats with active illumination to protect workers at night
- Hand tools should be tethered to workers’ belts by lanyards to protect against strikes by falling objects
- Barricades, pedestrian walkways, and sidewalk sheds should be used to protect laborers moving underneath an active work area
- Concrete/water-filled barriers should be put in place to protect road workers
The Bureau of Labor Statistics won’t release its 2017 worker injury and fatality numbers until December of this year. Hopefully, the numbers will paint a picture safer workplaces nationwide than the current numbers do.
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