Of all the industries in the U.S., construction is one of the most dangerous for workers. And of all the fatal injuries suffered by construction workers, falls are the most common cause.
Though falls are almost always preventable, the fact that they continue to plague the industry suggests that employers are not doing enough to protect construction workers. Let’s look at how serious the problem, so we can identify solutions for construction workers.
The Numbers Tell the Story of Construction-Related Falls
In 2018, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 1,008 construction workers died due to a work-related injury. Of those deaths, 320 were caused by falls. That’s nearly a third of all construction-related deaths that year!
According to research by the Center for Construction Research and Training, 20% of fall-related construction deaths happened in the worker’s first two months on the job. Researchers also found that of all construction workers killed by a fall-related injury, 54% had no access to a personal fall arrest system, which protects workers if they fall from great heights.
How Falls in Construction Happen
Because construction workers often do their jobs on tall buildings without railings, falls are usually deadly. They can happen when a worker trips or slips, and they can happen when scaffolding collapses or roofs become slippery.
Even with these dangers, construction workers can still be better protected from fall risks. The statistics above suggest that inexperience and a lack of protective equipment are two major contributors to the death rate among workers, both of which can be mitigated by safety measures put in place by construction employers.
Keeping Construction Workers Safe
To make sure workers aren’t put at risk for falls, construction companies must make thorough training and safety equipment mandatory on worksites. Newer construction workers should be adequately trained and experienced before they’re allowed to work from great heights.
All construction workers, regardless of experience, will benefit from safer work sites and protective equipment. Personal fall arrest systems should be mandatory on all construction sites where structures are more than one story high.
Standing Up for the Rights of Boston Construction Workers
In 2018, construction fatalities accounted for 36% of all fatal work injuries. Falls from an upper level to a lower one were the leading cause of death for Massachusetts workers, most of which occurred on construction sites.
Construction companies in Massachusetts can do better by their workers. Construction workers have a tough and important job, but they’re not always treated with the respect they deserve.
Construction workers are often classified as independent contractors, which means they’re denied workers’ compensation benefits that the rest of us take for granted.
Additionally, young, Hispanic construction workers who work for small construction companies have the highest death rates of any group of workers in the nation. These workers are often immigrants, and they’re thrown into dangerous work environments by companies that should be doing more to give them the training and equipment needed to do the job safely.
If You Need an Advocate, Jason Stone Injury Lawyers Is Here for You
If you’ve been seriously injured on the job or if you’ve lost a loved one who died a preventable death, we want to help you explore your legal options and to find out what damages can you recover. Contact our Boston construction worker injury lawyers today for a free consultation.