California is home to some of the tallest buildings in the west. These include the likes of the Grand Wilshire Center and the US Bank Tower, which are both in Los Angeles. Falling from buildings this tall would be not be survivable. However, people do not need to fall from a building with floors in the double digits to risk death.
NBC News estimates that in 2017, 887 American workers died from falls on the job. This was the highest figure reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics since it first started tracking fall-related deaths 30 or so years ago. Overall, falls account for 17% of all fatalities on the job. For people in construction, that climbs to 40%. It is also one of the primary killers within the Latino community, accounting for 26%.
Falls are one of the most preventable accidents at work, but it keeps killing workers anyway. In many instances, employers fail to provide the safety tools and training necessary to workers. There are also some instances where employees ignore the rules and cause injury to themselves and others.
A study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine calls falls within the construction industry a public health issue. This stems from the fatality rates attached to these falls and how prevalent they are in this field. The study found that risky behaviors, weather conditions and site conditions were some of the most common contributing factors.
OSHA and other agencies have launched several campaigns for safety at work. Some nonprofits and professional organizations have also stepped forward to support safety efforts on construction sites. These groups may need to reconsider their approach to worksite safety as the current approach does not seem to be working.