State of Jobsite Safety: 2018


Jobsite safety remains of paramount importance for all involved in the construction industry.  Recently published statistics from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (“NIOSH”) and the National Safety Council (“NSC”) reflect that contractors must place continued emphasis on fall protection and on high-quality safety-training programs.

NIOSH, in conjunction with the Center for Construction Research and Training, has developed a database over a thirty-three (33) year period, gathering information on jobsite fatalities.  In analyzing 768 deaths, NIOSH determined that 42% (325) of construction workers’ deaths involve falls.  NIOSH’s recently released data also revealed that 54% of those killed through falls did not have access to a personal fall arrest system.  Sadly, NIOSH also reported that 23% of those killed workers had access to a personal fall arrest system, but did not use it.  Most of the workers with no access to a personal fall arrest system worked for residential contractors or for contractors in the roofing, siding and sheet metal sectors.  According to NIOSH’s recently published information, approximately 67% of the reported fatalities involving falls occurred from heights lower than 30 feet.  NIOSH’s analysis also showed that one in five killed workers died within the first two months on the job, regardless of whether those deaths were related to fall or non-fall events.

NIOSH’s recent report aligns with statistics recently published by the NSC relating to OSHA’s top ten most-cited violations for fiscal year 2017.  The NSC recently published that OSHA’s most frequently cited violations for fiscal year 2017 are as follows:

 

OSHA Citation

Total
Citations

1. Fall Protection-General Requirements 6,887
2. Hazard Communication 4,652
3. Scaffolding 3,697
4. Respiratory Protection 3,381
5. Lockout Tagout 3,131
6. Ladders 2,567
7. Powered Industrial Trucks 2,349
8. Machine Guarding 2,109
9. Fall Protection-Training Reqirements 1,724
10. Electrical-Wiring Methods 1,530

Number nine on OSHA’s top ten list for 2017 (Fall Protection-Training Requirements) did not make OSHA’s top 10 list in 2016.  Such statistic reflects that OSHA is placing greater emphasis on fall protection training in order to prevent injury or death on construction sites and to thwart additions to NIOSH’s fatality statistics.

With the uptick in the construction industry and the continued demand for a competent workforce, a contractor can ill-afford the loss of an employee to injury, or even worse, death.  High-quality safety-training programs and strict adherence to safety requirements will help protect workers and companies in the evolving safety landscape.  In the words of Sergeant Phil Esterhaus at the end of his squad meetings in the 1980s hit, Hill Street Blues, “Hey, let’s be careful out there!”