The January death of a Connecticut construction worker exemplifies the risks, hazards and dangers faced by people employed within this industry. Serious and fatal injuries are not uncommon among construction workers.
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 5,333 U.S. workers who died on the job in 2019, nearly 20% of the deaths – 1,061 – occurred in the construction industry.
‘Focus Four Hazards’ and protection
In the recent case, the 63-year-old construction worker died at a hospital after sustaining serious injuries in an afternoon fall on Jan. 26. The man reportedly fell roughly 10 feet into a foundation hole at a home construction site where a crew was working on a basement. (And, as an aside, workers 55 and older accounted for 38% of workplace deaths in 2019.)
Annually, construction’s “Focus Four Hazards” – as dubbed by the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) – comprised roughly 60% of the industry’s fatalities. They include:
- Falls: Elevated falls from scaffolding, ladders, structures and falls into holes are among these hazards that can lead to death and debilitating injuries.
- “Caught-in or in-between” accidents: These situations may include the collapses of trenches as well as equipment rollovers.
- “Struck-by” accidents: These may include being struck by construction vehicles or equipment as well as falling objects from a construction site.
- Electrocution hazards: Construction workers are nearly four times more likely to face electrocution than workers in all other industries combined. Powerlines often prove fatal.
The construction industry’s focus on safety must continue to take priority among employers. Construction companies must provide the proper training and protective gear to their employees. Reduction of serious injuries and fatalities within the industry is critical. The lives of working people are in the balance.