Construction is one of the most dangerous industries for workers in New Jersey and around the country. There are around 252,000 active construction sites each day, with around 6.5 million workers nationwide, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. There are common hazards in this industry that cause many of the injuries.
The most common hazards, as stated on OSHA’s site, include:
- Falls (from heights);
- Trench collapse;
- Scaffold collapse;
- Electric shock and arc flash/arc blast;
- Failure to use proper personal protective equipment; and
- Repetitive motion injuries.
The construction industry has a higher fatal injury rate than the national average. Scaffolding plays a significant hazard for construction workers due to the possibility of injuries sustained from falls, the collapse of the scaffolds and objects falling. An estimated 50 deaths and 4,500 injuries could be prevented simply by using and erecting scaffolding properly.
According to EHS today, construction accounted for 19.5 percent of all workplace fatalities in 2012. Texas had the most deaths, and New Jersey had a number that fell in the 6-20 range out of the 775 total fatalities. The most dangerous form of construction is specialty trade, followed by civil engineering, building, equipment and building finishing.
Out of the fatalities, 57 percent could be attributed to four injury categories, known as the “fatal four.” These include falls, being struck by objects, electrocution and being caught between objects. The most common injuries came from falls, with 36 percent of construction workers deaths in 2012 attributed to it. By instigating safety protocols that prevent these four types of injuries, a significant number of fatalities could be prevented in the construction industry.