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United States Of America – Despite improvements in equipment and advancements in wearable technology, safety in the construction industry continues to see an ever-rising number of preventable injuries and deaths creeping into the 2022 year.
In the United States, construction workers only make up 6% of the labor force but account for roughly 20% of employee deaths. As the field continues to encounter increasingly high rates of fatal and nonfatal injuries and accidents amongst its employees, the disproportionately high ratio stands to serve as a desperate sign to push for improved safety and training.
Genuine investment in worker education is essential for proper training. Acquiring basic and fundamental techniques can become life-saving tactics for future use including the “three points of contact” in the instances of falls. Additionally, a more well rounded understanding of equipment can be vital in avoiding accidents or collisions while communication enhancement is statistically notable in having a measurable effect on safety.
Pre-Pandamic Data Construction Safety Data
FATAL CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY STATISTICS
- 1 in 5 deaths among US workers is in the construction industry
- 60% of deaths involve a falling object
- 34% of construction deaths are the result of falls (eliminating falls would save the lives of over 300 construction employees)
- The “Fatal Four” leading causes of construction deaths are falls, struck by equipment, electrocutions, and caught between objects)
- 2 of every 100,000 construction workers suffer a fatal injury (making it the 3rd highest rate of any industry)
- Each year, about 1,000 construction workers die due to work-related incidents
NON-FATAL CONSTRUCTION INJURIES
- Each year, 1.1% of construction workers suffer an injury serious enough to miss work
- In 2020, injury and illness rates in construction were 24% higher than any other industry
- More than 25% of construction workers each year do not report a work-related injury
- In 2020, there were over 174,100 instances of injuries in the construction field.
- Construction workers in the age range of 25-34 are most likely to sustain an injury on the job
COST OF CONSTRUCTION INJURIES
- Serious construction injuries cost the US $5 billion each year in health care, lost income, lost production, and reduced life quality
- Workplace injury costs reach $170 billion annually
- Workers’ compensation claims for nonfatal falls account for $2.5 billion every year
- In 2020, over 130,000 construction workers missed days of work as a result of injuries
- Safety violations can amount to penalties ranging from $13,653-$136,532
- In 2019, the average cost of a medically consulted injury was $42,000; the cost per death was $1.22 million
- Construction companies, on average, only spend 2.6% of their budgets on safety training
- 67% of construction workers feel that standards for safety are lower than for productivity
- 25% of workers worry about being injured every day
- 55% of workers believe they require more safety training
- 60% of construction accidents occur within a workers first year of work
The pandemic, mandates, vaccines and exhaustion are taking there toll on the battered workforce that remains. 2022 has already proven itself to be a tumultuous year with the astonishing number of construction fatalities and deaths that have occurred in the last month alone.
A Shortened List Of The Most Recent Tragic Accidents
Deadly CR-210 Crash
On January 27, 2022, three construction workers of Vallencourt Construction (David Barnes II, Darren Mosley, and James Wilkinson) died after facing a collision with a semi-truck. The fourth individual, Joseph Bryant, remains in the hospital in stable condition.
St. Johns County deputies have reported that the CR-210 highway involves much merging and unmerging, going from two lanes to one lane, and one lane to two lanes making it a gamble of a drive to those not experienced with the road.
In 2018, the county announced plans to add more lands to the project but no initiatives to begin planning have yet occurred.
Utah’s Deadly Fall
In Provo, Utah, a construction worker died on January 7, 2022 after falling 40 feet from a scaffold in the scope of his employment. Park City police officers were summoned to the construction site in Silver Creek Village where the 40 year old individual’s accident occurred.
The man was transported via helicopter to a Salt Lake hospital where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
OSHA has begun their investigation of the worksite.
Mississippi Construction Accident
33 year old Matthew Miller of Jackson, Mississippi has died of asphyxiation after being trapped under a pile of debris while working at a development site.
When firefighters reported to The Village at Livingston on Livingston Road, the rescue effort quickly turned into a recovery.
The Jackson Police Department has begun an investigation regarding the matter. Family members remember Matthew as a selfless, simple man.
Death by Dumpster
While unloading a dumpster near 191st St. near 42nd Ave in Flushing, Queens, a 32 year old man has died after sustaining fatal head injuries from a blow. According to a Department of Buildings complaint, the individual was pinned between the dumpster and his home.
19 year old Chrisitan Salazar of Raleigh, North Carolina was electrocuted while working on a home at 1336 Zack’s Mill Road.
The Sheriff’s Office has stated that Salazar was pulling a cable from a boom truck which is used to lift wood to the roof of a house, when the cable struck a power line and electrocuted him. Witnesses reported seeing bolts of electricity impaling Salazar.
A Fatherless Family
On October 25, 2021 a fatal accident occured at a North Miami construction site, leaving one man dead and another severely injured. Police revealed that the two individuals were struck by heavy falling equipment while working on a roadway near the Biscayne Bay Campus of Florida International University.
The deceased man was a father and his wife is expecting their second child.
Panama City Beach Construction Accident
An accident at Panama City Beach, Florida occurred Wednesday morning on Back Beach Road. Police are investigating the accident involving heavy construction equipment and a 31 year old who has been admitted to a local hospital for trauma injuries.
MLS Stadium Injury
On January 13, 2022, a construction worker was immediately rushed to a local hospital when a stack of drywall fell onto him at the MLS stadium near North 20th and Market Streets. St. Louis fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said the worker suffered injuries primarily to his legs. Fire Captain Garon Mosby stated that coworkers were able to free the individual who remained conscious and alert.
The Springfield Wastewater Treatment Plant Project
A construction worker was severely injured when he fell down a 60 foot deep concrete vault at a development site where a $115 million wastewater treatment pumping station is in the process of being built.
The accident happened at 75 West York Street at a construction site for the city of Springfield, Massachusetts. The man is an employee of Daniel O’Connell’s Sons.
The Fire Department had already visited the site multiple times and had planned for different accident scenarios.
San Antonio Apartment Complex
On Tuesday morning, a construction worker was critically injured when he fell off the roof of an apartment complex. The San Antonio Fire Department stated that the accident happened in the area of Loop 1604 and Nacogdoches Road at 8:30am.
The worker remains in critical condition at the Brooke Army Medical Center.
Southbound US-41 Bridge
A crash took the life of a construction worker as he crossed US-41 in Port Charlotte, bringing traffic to a standstill and shutting down the southbound lanes of the US-41 bridge for hours.
A 50 year old man from Englewood was struck by the car of an 18 year old individual when he was crossing west over the southbound US-41 travel lanes. The worker was pronounced dead at the scene while the crash remains under investigation.
Three construction workers were injured on Thursday morning when a scaffold collapsed at the Ozona High School building site. No students or teachers were involved in the accident.
The three bricklayers were on the three story scaffolding when it fell. Crockett County Consolidated Common School District Superintendent Raul Chavarria said the cause of the scaffolding collapse remains unknown.
A safety team from Dallas is investigating the matter. The individuals remain at Shannon Medical Center.
Part of I-75 was shut down on Friday after a driver struck a construction worker in Saginaw County. The Michigan State Police report that the driver lost control and struck the worker before crashing into the median wall.
No information is available at this time in regards to the driver or construction worker’s medical status.
Bronx Trench Collapse
On Thursday morning, firefighters in the Bronx hurried to rescue a construction worker who became trapped following a trench collapse. The victim was buried in the 10 foot trench up to his waist as the fire department utilized a tower ladder to stabilize the individual.
After 2 hours, the worker was eventually removed and transported to Jacobi Hospital in serious but stable condition.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is forgoing its investigation into the roof collapse of a Dollar General store in Orange City which left 66 year ol Fredys Montejopolo dead and 56 year old Guillermo Montejopolo injured.
Fredys was pinned underneath the falling debris and pronounced dead at the scene while Guillermo was transported to AdventHealth Fish Memorial.
The Orange City Police Department concluded its investigation of the site on November 8, 2021 when no evidence of criminal activity was detected.
Highway Bridge Demolition
On Thursday, a construction worker was injured when a girder collapsed during the demolition of a Las Vegas highway bridge. The employee was treated for minor injuries before being released from a nearby hospital.
Officials say US 95/I-515 remains open and is safe for driving.
Wareham Construction Pit
On Tuesday morning, a worker suffered serious injuries after falling below ground in a construction pit area. The Wareham Fire Department responded to a call regarding a worker who had fallen more than 20 feet below ground.
The individual was fastened by rope to the end of Tower 1, permitting him to be lifted to ground level and treated for injuries.
The Excavator Slide
In Manatee County, Florida on Friday, a construction worker was admitted to the hospital after an excavator he was operating on slid into a retention pond. East Manatee Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Paul Wren said the ground gave in to the weight of the excavator.
Another excavator on site helped to clear a path to the trapped worker. Rescue workers were able to free the worker who suffered minor injuries and was able to walk out of the pit without medical assistance.
The Grain Elevator
While repairing a grain elevator in Aurelia, Iowa, a construction worker was struck by an unknown object, suffering head and neck injuries. The man was flown to a Sioux City hospital on Tuesday at 11:15am.
The employee was on a silo ladder which was not readily accessible to rescuers and so, the Cherokee Fire Department was called and arrived with an aerial ladder truck. Firefighters and EMS from the Cherokee Regional Medical Center were able to save the worker and provide initial treatment before being transported by air. No updates regarding the man’s condition are known at this time.
What Is Going On?
OSHA along with other Agencies have been out in full force this past year. Site inspections as well as other increases in safety measures rolled out but yet we are seeing the tears appear in what looks like a very concerning trend that is increasing. The labor force is depleted, trained persons are a rarity as well as filling the position. More and more un-experienced workers are filling roles out of necessity while most long term workers are working overtime and exhausted.
On site construction labors and technicians are not the only ones. A huge uptick in truck driver related accidents are starting to resurface with several truck related accidents being documented in recent weeks and failing infrastructure such as the recent bridge collapse are compounding to the job hazards as well as complexity.