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Construction continues to be one of the most dangerous industries in the United States. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 20 percent of all worker fatalities in 2014 occurred at a construction site. That percentage adds up to 874 deaths, and nearly 40 percent of those fatalities—349—were from falls.
To increase awareness about the risk of workplace falls and the possibility of serious injury and death caused by falls, OSHA has launched a National Safety Stand-Down initiative to improve employer and worker awareness of fall danger.
OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down will take place during a week in May. The program was developed to educate construction industry personnel about the risks 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 a 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 in 2016.
The Stand-Down is part of a larger campaign launched in 2012 to reduce workplace deaths and injuries from falls. The campaign stresses that injuries and deaths from falls are preventable in almost every case. 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 accidents that make up 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 were even one-quarter as deadly as falls in 2014.
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, including posters, safety handouts, and fall prevention wallet cards. As the week 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.
Although efforts to reduce workplace deaths are in place, accidents still happen. When they do, workers need advocates who will fight for their rights and compensation for their injuries. We can help.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a construction accident, you are urged to contact the Indianapolis Construction Site Accident Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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