Falls are the leading causes of accidental death in the construction industry. According to OSHA (the United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration), of the total 774 construction accident fatalities in 2010 -- 264 were fall related fatalities (and of those, 255 falls were to a lower level).
Common types of construction worker slip and fall accidents include falls from ladders, roofs, scaffolds, and other elevations, as well as being struck by construction equipment or building materials, resulting in a fall. Falls may also occur when safety equipment such as harnesses or other means of personal fall protection malfunction or fail. Another cause of serious and fatal construction accidents is falling through openings in the floor.
In hopes of preventing injuries and saving lives, OSHA has partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) - Construction Sector on a nationwide outreach campaign. The groups aim to raise awareness among employers and workers about common fall hazards in construction, and how falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs can be prevented.
Maryland construction accident injury lawyers represent individuals who are hurt on the job, as well as families of those loved ones killed in construction work accidents. The basic themes of the agencies' fall prevention awareness campaign involve three steps: Plan (ahead to get the job done safely), Provide (the right equipment), and Train (workers to use the equipment safely).
An interactive map published by NORA reveals the locations and details of construction worker deaths across the U.S. in 2011, including fatalities due to falls that occurred on the job. The map lists two cases where construction workers were killed in falls while working on job sites in Maryland last year:
- A bridge mechanic in Havre De Grace (Harford County, Md.) was working on the tracks on a Susquehanna railroad bridge when he fell 90 feet to his death in September.
- Another deadly construction fall occurred in Millington (unclear if in Kent or Queen Anne's County, Md.) in June (no further details).
According to NORA, the purpose of the interactive map is to display the numbers and locations of construction related deaths in the U.S., due to falls and other causes. NORA reports that more than 200 construction workers are killed and over 10,000 are seriously injured by falls in the U.S. each year.
As an experienced Harford County, Maryland Workers' Compensation attorney, I can say that behind every construction accident statistic is the story of a family whose lives were changed in an instant. With the summer months upon us and construction projects in full swing, here's hoping the government's message of recommended safety measures will indeed save lives and prevent injuries from construction fall accidents -- in Maryland and around the country.
Related Maryland Injury Attorney article:
NIOSH, OSHA and CPWR-The Center for Construction Research and Training Announce National Campaign to Prevent Falls (PDF)
NIOSH Press Release April 26, 2012
Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction (includes interactive map of U.S. construction accident deaths; drill down into the Maryland map)