Everyone knows the construction industry is a dangerous profession. People work under conditions that pose risks to their health and lives.
Statistics about fatal accidents support the grim reality. Studies also show employers could do more to protect workers.
The biggest risks in construction
Nationwide, the year 2018 saw 4,779 worker fatalities in the private sector. More than one in five (21.1%, or 1,008) were in the construction industry.
What insiders call the “Fatal Four” categories accounted for 58.6% of fatalities. They are:
- Falls from heights: 338 deaths (33.5%)
- Struck by an object: 112 deaths (11.1%)
- Electrocution: 86 deaths (8.5%)
- Getting caught in or crushed by equipment or objects: 55 deaths (5.5%)
The “Fatal Four” total comes to 591 worker lives for the year. Statistics also show the risk is greater for employees who work alone.
The biggest safety failures in construction
Irresponsible construction companies are part of the problem. They do not recognize that safety programs boost morale, increase productivity and save money. Common reasons that the companies fail to protect workers include:
- They rely on personal protection equipment to protect workers. The equipment alone is often inadequate. A hard hat, for instance, is not going to protect a worker from a fall.
- They do not keep track of employees who are working alone. Supervisors have no way of knowing a worker needs emergency care.
- They lack a system for responding to injuries and other emergencies. Plans should be clear, shared with all employees, and practiced regularly.
- In the worst cases, they ignore basic safety. Some are incompetent, others do not care and there are those who see injuries as part of the cost of doing business.
The biggest, most effective way to protect your future
As an employee, you have the right to a safe working environment. Your employer should have a plan in place.
You need a plan, too. Do not put your fate, and future, in the hands of the same people who failed you in the first place.