How common are construction accidents? According to data from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA), there were 1,061 worker fatalities on construction sites in 2019. This number equates to nearly 3-a-day and about 20% of all work-related fatalities recorded by OSHA that year.
Despite how harrowing it might be to know that three fatal construction accidents happen a day on average across the country, the data does not even reflect the true number of yearly construction accidents. It only reports the number of fatalities. OSHA is less strenuous when recording and reporting nonfatal construction accidents, so the total number is not easily known. It can be presumed to be much higher than the fatal accident total, though.
Why Are OSHA Reports Seemingly Incomplete?
According to OSHA’s own website, the agency is “small.” The work the agency needs to complete, though, is large. This disparity between agency resources and agency responsibilities is often attributed to gaps in reporting.
OSHA’s size and responsibilities can be summed up in these statistics:
- About 1,900 jobsite inspectors work for OSHA, and they work out of 95 total OSHA offices.
- Those inspectors are responsible for reviewing the safety of more than 8 million jobsites in various industries.
- There are about 16 workers at the average jobsite or workplace in America.
- Each OSHA compliance officer inspects the jobsites of more than 70,000 workers.
Because OSHA compliance officers have such a monumental task, it is crucial that employers take workplace safety and accountability seriously and into their own hands. They cannot simply rely on OSHA to come by once a year or so and tell them what needs to be fixed to keep workers safe. Still, OSHA is proud to report significant workplace safety improvements since the agency was first founded in 1971. Based on OSHA reports, workplace deaths have decreased by about 60% and workplace injuries have decreased by about 75% in the last 50 years.
What are the Worst Construction Site Violations?
Until construction site injuries and fatalities are brought down to zero per year, there is still plenty of work to do. Knowing about the most common jobsite safety violations can help keep you or your workers safe by giving you the knowledge you need to avoid such hazards.
OSHA’s top 3 most commonly cited safety violations in 2020 at construction sites were:
- Fall protection was not provided to workers in elevated places.
- Scaffolding was not built or secured properly before workers ascended it.
- Ladders were not used correctly, such as workers ascending to the top platform.
There are also numerous other violations that are commonly cited in the construction industry, as well as many others. For example, missing hazard communications and incomplete lockout/tagout procedures are common problems among industrial worksites of any form.
Hurt at Work? You Might Be Able to Sue
If you have been injured while working on a construction site, then you have your options to pursue fair compensation. Depending on your employment status and the nature of your workplace accident, you might be eligible to file for workers’ compensation, file a personal injury claim against your employer, or both. For injured construction workers in Chicago, McHargue & Jones, LLC proudly offers legal guidance and representation. To figure out what you should do next after a construction accident in the city or the surrounding area, contact our firm at any time to plan a free consultation.