If you drive by a residential or commercial construction site, you will undoubtedly see everything from bulldozers and dump trucks to cement mixers and tool belts. You will also more than likely see multiple ladders or an intricate system of scaffolding. What you may be shocked to learn, however, is that these ladders and scaffolding are actually the most deadly piece of equipment on the entire work site.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. In 2010, 264 out of 774 fatal construction accidents were attributed to falls, while in 2011, 262 out of 738 fatal construction accidents were attributed to falls.
While these numbers certainly paint a grim picture, OSHA points out that fatal falls on construction sites are entirely preventable though proper training and the use of proper safety equipment.
Interestingly, operations at construction sites all over the Chicagoland area came to a halt for 30 minutes last Wednesday afternoon so that workers could learn more about keeping themselves safe as they work atop roofs, or on ladders and scaffolding.
The initiative, which was put on thanks to a partnership between OSHA, work safety advocacy groups and various construction contractors, proved to be a resounding success.
"Training was provided on how to use ladders, fall protection systems and other equipment safely," said Nick Walters, OSHA's regional administrator in Chicago. "Builders Association-OSHA Alliance members demonstrated leadership, as well as a commitment to worker safety by participating in this safety stand down."
It's important for all workers injured in construction accidents -- whether from falls, equipment mishaps, falling objects, etc., -- to consider speaking with an experienced and dedicated attorney. Together, you can discuss your options for securing workers' compensation benefits and your plans for the future.
Source: KHL Construction News, "Construction workers halt work for fall safety," Lindsey Anderson, June 11, 2013