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Scared Straight: OSHA Edition

The construction industry has a reputation for being hazardous. Workers are asked to scale tall buildings, work around dangerous materials, and operate heavy machinery. There are innumerable ways for a worker to be injured, and it can be challenging for contractors to account for the conduct of every single worker. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for ensuring that all construction-related rules and regulations are being followed on project sites across the country. This helps reduce the number of work-related injuries and fatalities in the construction industry, but it comes at the expense of contractors who are forced to comply with a seemingly endless cache of rules and safety regulations.

In this brief article, the OSHA attorneys at Cotney Construction Law will discuss some of the most shocking construction safety statistics. These statistics illustrate the importance of keeping your project sites safe. Remember, our OSHA attorneys can help you maintain compliance by performing a pre-inspection of your project site or defending you against a citation. 

The Construction Industry Is Responsible for 1 in 5 Worker Deaths

Did you know that out of every 5,000 private-industry worker fatalities, 20 percent can be traced back to the construction industry? You heard correctly. The construction industry is responsible for approximately one out of every five work-related fatalities. Non-fatal injuries are also responsible for millions of dollars in lost profits annually, too. This goes to show that safety is vital to the operable and financial success of the construction industry. OSHA might penalize contractors that fail to meet compliance standards, but the money that can be saved by following their rules and regulations can offset the costs associated with an injury or fatality on your project site. OSHA violations are issued on a case-by-case basis and can result in a wide range of penalties — anywhere from a warning to a $132,598 fine.

These Statistics Deserve Your Attention

As a contractor, it’s important to acknowledge and accept the importance of project site safety. There are clear weaknesses in our ability to protect workers, as illustrated by the following statistics:

  • 47 percent of work-related deaths can be traced back to construction, transportation, and material moving jobs.
  • OSHA’s “Fatal Four” (falls, being struck by an object, electrocution, and being caught in/between two objects) account for 59.9 percent of work-related fatalities.
  • Approximately half of all construction-related deaths involved small contracting companies with 10 or fewer employees and self-employed workers.
  • 51 percent of falls occur in the construction industry.
  • During the average 45-year career in construction, a worker has a 1 in 200 chance of dying from a work-related incident.
  • Ten percent of construction workers are injured annually, and roughly half of work-related injuries are never reported.
  • The non-fatal injury rate in the construction industry is 71 percent higher than the next most dangerous industry.

These statistics tell an important story about safety in the construction industry. If you want to prevent your projects from being derailed by OSHA violations, it’s imperative that you do everything in your power to maintain a safe project site. Our OSHA lawyers can help you plan your next steps towards OSHA compliance.

If you would like to speak with one of our OSHA lawyers, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.