Publications:  Construction Safety

Construction work is a dangerous occupation. More construction workers die on the job than workers in any other field. Of all the work performed in America only 6% is construction, but nearly 20% of worker fatalities, about 1200 lives in 1999, occurred on construction sites. The potential causes of construction related deaths are numerous and always present.

The number one cause of construction deaths is from FALLS. Construction workers have fallen off edges of every description with the most common being floors, roofs and openings. The size of the project is not a factor. A number of fatal falls have occurred among small crews doing jobs of low cost and short duration. Some were caused by workers themselves as when they removed the plywood cover from an opening and then inadvertently stepped through the same opening.

Falls during the erection of structural steel are almost always fatal and are commonly connected to the lack of an adequate fall protection system. Similarly, suspended scaffolds can tip or fall when the traction hoist malfunctions and severs a support cable. A potentially fatal fall will occur if the workers are not hooked up to an approved fall protection system.

Even ladders can be killers. Construction workers have died when they fell from ladders that slid or slipped because they were not secured at the top and bottom. Ladders can also tilt and cause a fall when their feet are placed on grass or uncompressed soil instead of a hard, even surface.

The following statistics were compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor for 1999:

  • Fatal work injuries totaled 6,023. This was similar to 1998.
  • Deaths from on-the-job falls increased slightly to 717. One half of the deaths were in the construction industry and one half involved falls from roofs, scaffolds or ladders.
  • Workers struck by objects or equipment accounted for 10% of the fatal work injuries.
  • Electrocution accounted for 5% of worker fatalities. Contact with overhead power lines produced 40% of the electrocutions.
  • In July of 1999, OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor, stated that contact with live power lines was the main cause of fatal crane accidents in the U.S. where such accidents claim an average of 71 lives every year.
  • On the average, about 17 workers were fatally injured each day.
  • As stated before, only 6% of the American work force is in construction, but they suffer 20% of the total fatalities.

Hudson International provides a specific group of experts to analyze the incredibly diverse causes of construction accidents. They are knowledgeable and experienced with the full spectrum of construction activities; are familiar with the tools, equipment and machinery; and understand the established relationships among the numerous parties found on almost any construction site. They can also readily apply the regulations, codes and standards of care used to govern the activities and responsibilities of the construction industry.

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