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Construction Safety Day highlights the real dangers facing workers

Most people might not realize it, but today is actually the 7th annual Construction Safety Day, an initiative sponsored by the Governor's Industrial Safety and Health Advisory Board in Washington state.

While the day is naturally focused on raising awareness and improving construction site safety in Washington state, the significance of its message is nevertheless readily applicable to the entire U.S. In fact, it has even served as an impetus for out-of-state parties to explore the troubling circumstances behind most construction accidents.

Indeed, the construction software firm Viewpoint recently compiled a report in honor of Construction Safety Day using data from both OSHA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report reaches some very eye-opening conclusions concerning construction accident injuries, general safety problems and, most significantly, construction site fatalities.

After exploring the numbers from 2012, likely the most recent year for which a complete data set is available, the report identifies the so-called "fatal four" types of worksite accidents that were responsible for 57 percent of all fatalities.

They include the following:

  • Falls (36 percent)
  • Struck by objects (10 percent)
  • Electrocutions (9 percent)
  • Caught between objects (2 percent)

Regarding the fatal four, the report concludes that if they were somehow eliminated altogether from worksites, it would translate into an astounding 435 saved lives every year.

The report also made some other noteworthy findings:

  • Construction workers in the specialty trade (structures, concrete, foundations, etc.) had the highest percentage of fatalities -- 48 percent -- in 2012.
  • The construction industry had the highest number of deaths -- 775 -- in 2012, surpassing transportation and warehousing, a notoriously dangerous industry.
  • Texas had the highest number of fatal construction accidents in 2012 -- 105 -- while Illinois fell in the range of 6-20 fatalities. 

Reports like these demonstrate how even though we have made remarkable advancements in residential and commercial construction over the last several decades, much work remains to be done in the area of safety.

Remember to consider speaking with an experienced attorney if you've suffered serious work injuries at a construction site and would like to learn more about your options concerning work comp benefits.

Source: EHS Today, "Fatal Four: Safety in the construction industry," Sandy Smith, April 17, 2014 

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