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How Many Construction Workers Fall To Their Deaths Every Year?

How Many Construction Workers Fall To Their Deaths Every Year?

Construction work is considered to be one of the most dangerous professions in the world. It is estimated that 9.7 construction workers out of 100,000 will die from their injuries. One of the biggest reasons construction workers are constantly in danger is because they work on heights. This puts them at risk of falling off from scaffolding, roofs and other elevated structures.

Here’s how many construction workers die from falling:

  • Each year, 300 to 400 construction workers fall to their dealths while working at elevated places.
  • 370 construction workers lost their lives due to falls, trips and slips in 2021.
  • One-third of the deaths at construction sites happens due to falls, trips, and slips.
  • The deaths of contruction workers due to fall increased by 5.9% in 2021.
  • Fall is the first in OSHA’s Fatal Four, which also contains electrocutions, being stuck by equipment, and being caught by objects.

The Constant Danger Faced By Construction Workers

In recent years, 2019 recorded the highest number of fatalities due to falls among construction workers, with a total of 408 reported cases. However, it is important to remember that this was the pre-pandemic year and the economy slowly recovered in 2021 and 2022. It is yet to be seen how many workers lost their lives due to this reason in 2023.

The numbers related to fall hazards are extremely concerning and call for preventive measures by contractors and construction companies. Businesses must investigate the reasons behind workers falling fatally and take the necessary precautions to protect their workers.

How Many Workers Fall From Scaffolding?

Scaffolding is an integral part of construction work, providing access to elevated areas and ensuring worker safety. However, scaffolding-related accidents can still lead to falls and injuries. It is esimated that 2.3 million construction workers frequently work on scaffolding, this 65% of the total construction workforce.

It is estimated that there are 4500 injuries and 50 deaths every year due to scaffolding hazards. Many of these dealths are the results of workers falling off from these structures.

Common Causes of Falls That Lead to Causalities

Construction workers falling to their demise is unfortunately a reoccuring tragedy. Here are the reasons for which workers fall at construction sites.

1. Lack of Fall Protection

One of the primary causes of falls is the absence of adequate fall protection systems, such as guardrails, safety nets, and personal fall arrest systems. When these are not in place or are improperly used, the risk of falling increases significantly.

2. Unsafe Work Practices

Human error and unsafe work practices play a substantial role in fall-related incidents. Workers may take unnecessary risks, like working on unstable surfaces or not using safety equipment correctly. Ladders and scaffolding are the leading cause of health and safety issues. However, construction workers are likely to suffer spinal cord damage, brain injuries, and other catastrophic trauma if they fall from just one story, and ladders can be the reason behind that.

3. Inadequate Training

Workers may not receive proper training on fall prevention and safety measures. This lack of knowledge can lead to accidents when employees are unaware of the risks or how to mitigate them. It is essential to get OSHA safety training to understand the basic tips and precautionary measures to prevent from hazards at the job sites.

4. Poor Equipment Maintenance

Employees and employers both are responsible for ensuring that equipment is working appropriately or not. Poorly maintained equipment, such as ladders and scaffolding, can lead to accidents when they fail during use.

Conclusion

Falls from heights remain a significant concern in the construction industry, resulting in tragic fatalities and other far-reaching consequences. The causes of these falls are multifaceted, including a lack of fall protection, unsafe practices, inadequate training, and more.

Preventive measures, such as regulations, training, safety systems, and worker involvement, are essential in mitigating the risk. Beyond this, workers should be encouraged to enroll in courses like OSHA 30-hour construction where they are educated on protecting themselves and their colleageus from different workplace hazards.

Sources:
CDC 2022, BLS, BLS 2023, OSHA

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