/ Blog/ Construction is One of the Most Dangerous Industries
Construction continues to be one of the most dangerous industries in the United States. In 2014, 20% of all worker fatalities happened on a construction site. That added up to 874 deaths, and of those nearly 40% – 349 – were from falls. To increase an awareness of the risk of falls, and the risk of serious injury or death from a fall, OSHA has launched a National Safety Stand-Down to improve employer and worker awareness of fall danger.
OSHA Designates Education Week to Improve Worker Awareness
OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (a division of the Department of Labor) has designated the week of May 2nd to 6th for the Stand-Down, which will be the third time the program has been run. The program was developed to educate construction industry personnel about the risk of fall damage and to remind workers and employers to use safe practices at all times. The hope is that at some point during the week, most sites will stand down briefly to discuss the dangers and to review safety procedures. It doesn’t’ take long to have a big impact: a talk during lunch or a review of safety equipment during an extra-long break can save lives. Previous Stand-Down events have reached around 4 million total workers; OSHA hopes that better publicity and increasing awareness will allow them to reach 5 million this year alone.
Part of a Greater Effort to Reduce Workplace Deaths
The Stand-Down is part of a larger campaign launched in 2012 to reduce workplace deaths and injuries from falls. The campaign stresses that in almost every case injuries and deaths from falls are preventable. The key to protecting more workers is better education of the risks and of proper safety procedures.
Falls are the largest component of what OSHA has labelled the “Fatal Four,” the most common types of construction accident which combine for more than half of all construction deaths each year. Electrocutions, being struck by an object, and being caught in or in between objects or machinery round out the “fatal four,” although none was even one-quarter as deadly in 2014 as falls.
Join the Stand-Down Effort
As part of the effort, OSHA encourages workplaces to use a preparation checklist and to register with the agency to have their support for safety counted. The agency offers many different free resources that are available for download (or in printed form by request), including posters, safety handouts, and fall prevention wallet cards. As the date approaches, special free public events will be announced to encourage greater participation. In 2014, over 150 such events were held, including one hosted by NASCAR driver Greg Biffle, which attracted about 500 workers.
Construction workplace fatalities were up slightly in 2014, which saw a 7-year high for on-the-job deaths in all occupations combined. Preventing falls and other job site accidents is an extremely important part of making all workplaces safer. But accidents still happen, and when they do workers need advocates who will fight for their rights and proper compensation for their injuries. At Wilson Kehoe Winingham, we understand the importance of safety and the consequences of ignoring it. We have extensive experience with both construction accidents in general and slip-and-fall accidents. If you have had a workplace accident and need guidance on how to seek compensation, call us today at 317-920-6400 or contact us online to discuss the specifics of your case: the initial consultation is free, so you have nothing to lose.
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