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On this site, we combine our personal knowledge with other credible sources to create informational blogs regarding the construction industry with a focus on general contractors. Please feel free to comment with informative information or opinions.

Leading Causes of
Construction Worker Deaths: 

How they can be prevented

 

Drivers:

This sign look familiar?

Speaking from a Minnesotan—there is always construction happening. Don’tcha know?
Traditionally we aren’t the craziest drivers; however, whether it is deliberate or not, we still have some chaotic drivers when passing through construction zones. As a general contracting company, the idea of cars/2+ ton battering rams zipping by our workers is terrifying and truthfully becoming more of problem each day.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2015, “there was an estimated 96,626 crashes in work zones, an increase of 7.8% over 2014.” [1]
With fines roughly being found at double the original amount price, you would think drivers would reevaluate their speed and slow down. Unfortunately, they are either distracted by the many things that exist in our world or simply being inconsiderate to the workers within the work zone. As the population rises, the number of drivers are likely to rise as well. With that being said, as the population rises, the need for investment in infrastructure increases as well. We like to believe that the work being performed by the constructions workers is being done for the community in a variety of ways. With that, we like to respect them in the best way we can by doing our part to slow down and keep the workers safe.

Falls:
Another leading cause for fatal construction events results from accidents on structural elements. As an example, a structural element in construction would include roofing. When sites fail to have safety nets or improper safety guards, the construction workers are being put at risk for falling and possibly dying. Within the construction industry, “falls from the roofs account for one-third of all fall-related fatalities.” [2] There needs to be more effort put forth on the safety of these workers. What can we do for these workers to help prevent fatalities?

Electrocution:
Between 2003 and 2007, 445 construction workers died from coming into contact with an electrical current.[3] One way to prevent this from occurring would be to use insulated tools or other forms of insulators. Advancements in tools such as these have created a solution to minimize the tragedies that can occur when working with electrical currents. If possible, the circuit should be shut off and tested for power prior to touching any wires. Although many instances can and have occurred where the electricity was not able to be turned off, it is still important to take all the necessary precautions to keep everybody safe.

Burns:
This awful accident can result in permanent damage or even fatality. A burn can be caused by radiation, chemicals, or even a job site accident. There are four degrees of burns. 

First degree: Burn affecting the superficial layers of skinSecond degree: Partial-thickness burn, damaging some underlying skin layersThird degree: Full-thickness burn, extends through all layers of the skin and damages tissue/nerve endingFourth degree: A severe burn extending beyond the skin and into underlying fat, muscle, or bone


To prevent burns from happening, make certain all rules are being followed at the job site and enforcing rules and safety techniques regularly to all employees. You also must handle everything with care. Take extra precaution when you are around hot surfaces, reaching across the surfaces, or transporting materials. Lastly, dress for the part. If you are dealing with hot parts, there is proper clothing attire for that. The most commonly known fire resistant material is wool for clothing. Proper gloves, shoes and eye protection will help significantly.




[1] Fhwa. "Work Zone Facts and Statistics." Work Zone Safety - FHWA Facts and Statistics - FHWA Work Zone. Accessed July 21, 2017. https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/resources/facts_stats/safety.htm.
[2] Valentz, Art. "8 Shocking Roof Safety Statistics You Won't Believe." Roof Support System. Accessed July 21, 2017. https://www.phpsd.com/blog/8-shocking-roof-safety-statistics-you-won-t-believe.
[3] Valentz, Art. "8 Shocking Roof Safety Statistics You Won't Believe." Roof Support System. Accessed July 21, 2017. https://www.phpsd.com/blog/8-shocking-roof-safety-statistics-you-won-t-believe.

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