by Lori Riddle

Zachry - FPL Ft Lauderdale (not approved)This week we welcome Alicia Lawrence to the Think Tank. Alicia is a content specialist for Viewpoint (formerly Maxwell Systems). She enjoys helping readers and customers increase efficiency and safety in construction.

Safety In The Construction Industry

The construction industry is one of the most important in the world. It’s also one of the most dangerous, accounting for 19.5 percent of all work deaths from 2002 to 2012. Specialty trade constructors, in particular, are at risk; they represented 48 percent of total construction deaths from 2003 to 2012. Since specialty trade constructors often deal with heavy structures, foundations and concrete, it is a larger challenge than in other construction types to guarantee proper safety precautions.

Construction Safety Day falls on April 23rd this year. This annual event will hopefully serve as an opportunity for many to connect with construction instructors, personnel and vendors to gain knowledge on industry safety. This infographic provides an extensive overview of safety issues in the construction industry, which are important for the heavy construction trade specifically. In addition to the infographic’s data, the information below highlights the safety issues in the heavy construction industry:

Fatal Work Injuries Are Dropping

Due to increased safety precautions aided by Construction Safety Day and other programs, the number of fatal work injuries in construction has dropped over the past decade. There were 759 fatal work injuries among specialty trade contractors in 2004, but that number was below 500 from 2009 to 2012. In the entire industry, there were 5764 fatal injuries in 2004, compared to 4383 in 2012. The progress may not be dramatic, but it’s happening.

Construction Remains More Dangerous Than Similar Occupations

The most ample number of jobs for construction laborers is in California and Texas. They also have the highest number of construction-related injuries, but that is primarily due to the high number of workers. The industry is aware of the numbers regardless of the state: Construction has more deaths per year than agriculture, forestry, fishing/hunting, mining, quarrying and oil/gas extraction combined. Still, it’s worth keeping in mind that many of these industries have higher death rates. Construction Safety Day aims to reduce the number of injuries and deaths annually in the construction industry.

Violations of OSHA Standards Are an Issue

OSHA Standards are put in place to ensure workplace safety, but these standards are violated daily in the construction industry. The most frequently violated OSHA standards relate to fall protection in the construction industry, which is just ahead of hazard communication, scaffolding and respiratory protection as the most frequently violated OSHA standards.

Beware of the “Fatal Four”

Those in the heavy construction industry should be aware and beware of the four types of injuries in construction that accounted for three out of five construction worker deaths in 2012. They are falls, 36 percent; struck by object 10 percent; electrocutions 9 percent and caught-in/between 2 percent. If your occupation deals with any of these risks, it’s extremely important to heed safety precautions. Even if one is following code, there remains the risk for fatal injury or death.

The construction industry will remain a source for many jobs and economic opportunities in the years to come, but heeding safety precautions and OSHA standards are essential to upholding the safety of those working in the industry. Remember to check out Construction Safety Day on April 23rd to learn more about how you can make yourself and co-workers safer.


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