You and many other people employed in the construction industry are usually hard-working individuals who are prepared to work in potentially dangerous situations. However, just because you understand that worksites might be dangerous, it does not mean that employers can ignore safety risks. Many still do. The result is an astronomically high number of construction deaths.
Implementing necessary safety precautions and measures can cost a construction business a lot of money upfront. Not maintaining regulations set out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration can be costly too. Fines for noncompliance can be as high as $70,000 for a single incident. When faced with the decision to skimp on safety costs or put up the money to comply with OSHA standards, it is not uncommon for an employer to choose the first option, putting his or her workers at risk.
Most workplace deaths happen in construction
Construction workers are more likely to experience a fatal workplace injury than people working in other industries. When looking at every 5,000 worker fatalities in private industries, 20% occur in construction. This makes construction fatalities the most common type of workplace death.
Those who face the highest risk of death are not necessarily employed by big companies contracted to work large-scale projects. Small companies that employ fewer than 10 people account for approximately half of all construction site deaths. No matter what size company you work for, spending 45 years in the industry gives you a 1 in 200 risk of dying in a workplace accident.
Common causes of deaths are preventable
Safety equipment and training are a necessary aspect of protecting workers. Despite this, employers often provide only minimal training, if any, and necessary equipment might be lacking, defective or nonexistent. This is perhaps why the so-called “Fatal Four” are the most common causes of construction deaths. These four are:
- Struck by a falling object
- Caught between two objects
Of course, not every injury is fatal. Annually, around one in every 10 workers suffers a work-related injury. This is 71% more than the industry with the second-highest rate for non-fatal injuries. These figures could also be on the low side, because it is estimated that as many as 50% of serious injuries in a given year are not reported.
No one should have to die at work.
You and other Pennsylvania workers usually just want to put in a good day’s work, receive fair compensation for that work and return home safely. Employers can help ensure that you make it home safely by requiring training more frequently, doing regular inspections of worksites and equipment and holding regular safety and health meeting with workers and supervisors. These are low-cost solutions that could save many lives. Few employers seem willing to take these types of preventative steps.
Unexpectedly losing a loved one is a devastating experience. A household may experience a sudden drop in income on top of shouldering the burden of unexpected funeral expenses, daily bills and more. Worrying about these financial problems can make it difficult to fully grieve a family member’s death. Receiving temporary death benefits through the workers’ compensation system can help families bridge the gap created by unexpected construction deaths, which might improve the emotional and financial trauma that some people experience in these situations.