1 in 5 American Workplace Fatalities Occurs in the Construction Industry
Every day, somewhere in the United States, at least two construction workers die from fatal injuries sustained in workplace accidents, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). As many as one in five work-related fatalities in the country occur in the construction industry.
Falls are the Top Cause of Fatal Injuries in Construction
The main cause of fatalities in the construction industry does not necessarily involve heavy machinery, as some might assume. Falls account for more fatal injuries in the construction industry than any other factor. Of the 796 construction deaths in the U.S. in 2013, 294 involved falls. That’s more than one-third of all deaths. Next was being struck by an object (10.3 percent of deaths), followed by electrocutions (8.9 percent) and getting caught in or between something (2.6 percent). OSHA refers to these as the construction fatal four.
In fact, fall protection in the construction industry tops the list of hazards cited by OSHA.
Construction Boom Hasn’t Led to Better Safety
The construction industry once again has picked up activity after a slowdown during the economic downturn. However, even as the industry steps up operations, there has been no corresponding increase in worker safety measures. Workers suffer serious and fatal injuries in construction site accidents that are preventable.
Texas Has One of the Highest Construction Fatality Rates in the U.S.
Texas has one of the busiest construction industries in the country and a high rate of worker fatalities. According to an analysis by the Dallas Morning News, Texas workers – in any industry – are 12 percent more likely to die on the job than workers in other states. And construction sites in Texas are 22 percent more deadly than the national average.
The state has not bothered to invest much in training programs, regular inspections and oversight and more safety equipment for workers, according to the Dallas Morning News report.
Most Construction Site Accidents are Preventable
One of the most distressing facts about construction site accidents is that so many of them are entirely preventable. For instance, fall accidents on construction sites can are preventable if employers provide fall arrest systems for all workers who work at a certain elevation. Employers also could help reduce risks to workers if they invest in training programs.
Construction workers in Texas have the right to workers’ compensation benefits when they suffer an injury. They also may have the right to file a third-party claim against manufacturers of defective products and other entities responsible for the accident. Call 214-526-7900 to speak with an experienced worker’s compensation lawyer at Reyes, Browne, Reilley or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.