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Fatal Injury Rate Still High in Construction Work

The construction industry employs roughly 6.5 million people in the United States. Many of those workers are exposed to an elevated and unacceptable risk of on the job injury. Statistics released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration show that those workers are exposed to a higher risk of fatal injury than those in other fields. The Center for Construction Research and Training did a study that concluded that a lifelong construction worker was five times more likely to die in a workplace accident than workers in all other fields. Construction work is dangerous and there are several reasons this continues to be true.

In some cases, safety regulations are simply ignored by employers who place profit over the lives of their employees. Even when an OSHA inspection or injury exposes a safety hazard, these employers keep construction sites open and do little or nothing to correct the problem. If an employer can get away with ignoring safety violations, construction workers will never be safe.

Another common problem is the equipment used by construction companies. The top four causes of death in the construction industry are electrocution, being struck by moving machinery or objects, falls and crushing accidents. Proper safety equipment and up to date tools and equipment, as well as training on how to use that equipment, are vital to protecting construction workers.

Construction work kills more than 1,000 workers a year. The people who rely on construction work to provide for their families are currently being forced to risk their lives in exchange for a paycheck. This situation should not be allowed to continue. Construction workers have the right to work in a safe and healthy environment, just as any other worker does.

Source: In These Times, "Construction Work: Still Deadly, Still Badly Regulated," by R.M. Arrieta, 8 February 2012

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