Accidents happen. Unfortunately, in the New York construction world, accidents can have serious and even deadly results. Making up only 6% of the work force in the U.S., construction workers comprise about 20% of on-the-job fatalities. This includes accidents involving electrocutions, being struck by an object, being caught between objects, and falling. Falls make up one third of all deaths on construction sites, taking over 300 lives each year.
As with most accidents, construction accidents are almost entirely preventable. You can do your part by staying focused on your job, abiding by safety protocol and utilizing any safety equipment your employer provides. Your employer also has serious obligations to keep you and your coworkers safe on the job.
A fatal construction accident can devastate a family. However, some non-fatal injuries can be just as traumatic. The rate of non-fatal injuries in construction is 71% higher than in all other industries, and some of these injuries can be life changing. For example, if you were to suffer a catastrophic fall that results in a spinal injury or brain injury, you may be unable to work, face ongoing medical bills and require lifelong care.
Almost 2% of construction workers miss work each year because of injuries. While you may think that seems like a low number, in reality, that adds up to about 196,000 injuries nationwide. Workers between 25 and 34 years old are more likely to suffer injuries on a construction site, and 60% of those injuries occur within their first year on the job.
Your employer’s responsibilities
You may be among the 55% of construction workers who feel poorly trained for your job. In fact, two-thirds of workers in your industry complain that their employers focus more on productivity than on safety. The statistics prove this, revealing that most companies spend only about 2.6% of their budgets on safety training. However, training is just one element of an employer’s comprehensive effort to reduce the number of accidents on the job.
Employers have a responsibility to provide you with high quality personal protection equipment and to train you on its proper use. Your employer should also demand regular inspections of scaffoldings and ladders since these are the most common sites for falls. Creating an overall safety plan for your work site is critical for eliminating accidents that may jeopardize your health, your future and your life.