Both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are becoming increasingly concerned with job-related deaths of construction workers due to falls having reached alarming levels.
NBC News recently reported on their website that in most cases, these on-the-job accidents are, for the most part, easily preventable, but the deaths keep mounting up. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 817 workers have fallen to their deaths. Overall, deaths from falls account for 17% of all on-the-job fatalities. For construction workers, that figure now stands at 40%.
Industry analysts believe that this sharp rise in work-related fatalities may have its roots in the current construction boom after an economic recession. Because of the new level of demand, there is now a shortage of experienced construction workers. This forces contracting companies to hire workers with little or even no prior experience. To combat this, both OSHA and NIOSH have been trying to raise awareness among workers and the public through a public information campaign. According to the CDC, 61% of fatal construction falls happen within construction firms with 10 or fewer employees. Most of these smaller companies don’t have access to Prevent Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS), and the U.S. Department of Labor said that many safety violations are easily preventable if the proper training is given to workers. In adhering to the guidelines set out by the federal safety agencies, construction companies and their workers can go a long way to keeping workers safe while on the job.