Numbers are important because they give us the ability to measure. In construction, proper measurements mean everything at a worksite. Recently, the Department of Labor released its summary of numbers from 2012 that gives us the opportunity to measure the hazards of a vital, but dangerous trade.
Preliminary results appear to show fatal construction accidents declined in 2012. The fatality figure of 4,683 represents the second-lowest death rate since the census for fatal injury was initiated in 1992.
Any construction site is a potential accident scene. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists the four deadliest risks in construction as follows:
- Falls: Lack of training, harnesses and protective equipment and unstable flooring and scaffolding contribute to deaths each year. In 2012, 662 workers died as a result of falls or tripping from heights of 10 to 30 feet.
- Being hit: Vehicles, booms and machinery cause struck-by accidents. More than 233 workers were killed in 2012 when struck by vehicles or falling objects and machinery. Incidents involving transportation and vehicles represented more than two of every five fatal accidents.
- Caught in or between: Being trapped in a trench or crushed by its collapse is common in the construction industry.
- Electrocutions: Unseen electrical wire and inappropriate equipment and safety gear cause electrocution accidents each year.
More than 340 workers were killed in 142 multiple-fatality accidents, revealing the deadly consequences of even a small mistake at a construction site. While 4,383 deaths represent an improvement in construction safety, the number is too high. The loss of even one worker to a preventable accident is not acceptable.
Construction is an inherently dangerous, but profitable profession. If you were injured at a worksite, talk to reputable attorneys about your legal rights in New York.