As the construction labor shortage rages on throughout the industry, there have been concerns of how overworked employees or undertrained staff may affect job site safety. Although there’s no definitive proof that this problem is causing an increase in construction deaths and injuries, recently released Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows trends pointing in the wrong direction.
Year over year, fatal occupational injuries in 2015 rose by more than 4% in the construction industry versus 2014, according to the BLS. Fatalities increased to a total of 937, from 899 the previous year. Rates also climbed to 10.1 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, from 9.8. The 937 deaths were the highest for the construction industry since 2008, when there were 975 reported fatalities.
Across all industries, an annual total of 4,836 workplace deaths in 2015 was the highest since 2008. Transportation, such as roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles made up the largest portion of all fatalities, with 1,264, roughly 25% of all fatalities. This highlights the importance of not only keeping workers safe while driving for their job, but also keeping workers safe from other motorists. Slips, trips, and falls accounted for the second highest cause of death, totaling 800 in 2015.
The negative trend has certainly piqued the interest of several government entities, including OSHA. OSHA has not only increased their fines for the first time since 1990, they’ve introduced a new rule that would require companies to make their injury records public. OSHA also recently released data that showed construction trench related deaths have doubled in 2016, as compared to 2015, which is not a good sign for the BLS’ 2016 fatality report.
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OSHA had to fight hard to finally get its relatively new crystalline silica dust exposure regulations passed, and, once it did, the agency wasted no time enforcing the law. In the regulations first 6 months, OSHA issued 116 violations, but the highest penalty at that point was $9,239. More recently, the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Compliance Division (VOSH) has possibly issued a record citation to a highway contractor, a whopping $304,130 penalty.
Falls from height are the leading cause of fatalities on construction sites by a long shot, as the account for around 40% of deaths. Fall protection training in the classroom can often fall short, because hearing words and learning definitions about fall prevention may not have the same effect as seeing and interacting with fall prevention techniques.
On Monday morning, a 13 story building in Miami Beach that was being prepped for demolition suddenly collapsed, injuring one Project Manager that was struck by debris.
OSHA's new crystalline silica dust exposure regulations officially went into effect on September 23, 2017. Over the past 10 months, there has been plenty of confusion about the lung disease causing material. In the first 6 months after the effective date, OSHA's inspectors yielded 116 violations across the country.
Investigators are on the scene of a catastrophic explosion at a Texas construction project that killed 1 and has injured another 15 workers. The explosion occurred on Tuesday afternoon at Coryell Memorial Healthcare System in Gatesville, Texas, which is being expanded.