Nearly every critical industry in the country, including those in Texas, relies on construction in some way. It can be a tough and exhausting job, but above all, it is dangerous. You do not have to be working on a high-rise scaffold or placing explosives for a demolition to face life-threatening risks.
Ideally, your employer takes every possible precaution to protect you and your co-workers from injury due to preventable accidents. Nevertheless, the statistics tell a story that says not every contractor provides his or her construction workers with the equipment and training they need to do the job efficiently and to return home safely.
The Fatal Four
Six percent of the work force in the U.S. is construction workers. However, construction accidents account for 20% of fatal workplace accidents. Recent data shows that almost 1,100 construction workers were killed on the job in a single year. This statistic alone should impress upon you and others the inherent danger of the job you do. Add to this the fact that annually, nearly 200,000 construction workers suffer injuries that are not life-threatening although many are life altering. The most common construction accidents include these:
- Falls, which make up one third of all construction deaths, costing the lives of over 300 workers each year
- Struck-by accidents, including those involving motor vehicles, heavy equipment and falling objects
- Electrocutions, which may result from faulty equipment or exposed wires
- Caught-between accidents, such as trench cave-ins, compression between a vehicle and a wall, or having your clothing caught in moving machinery
These are known as the Fatal Four since they result in more than 60% of deaths on construction sites, not to mention catastrophic injuries. In fact, non-fatal injuries among construction workers average more than 70% higher than in other industries.
What is the solution?
Some studies show that many construction companies budget considerably more to pay for accident injuries than they do for safety training. In fact, more than half of construction workers polled agreed that they need more training on how to stay safe on the job. This might be especially true for new workers since 60% of injuries occur during the first year a construction worker is on the job.
With the ever-evolving options for safety on the construction site, there really is no excuse for a construction company to shirk its duty to establish a work environment where safety is the highest priority. No one loses when a business provides appropriate protection equipment and frequent training.