Officials with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration are calling for renewed focus on construction site safety and training as construction-related deaths rise. According to Better Roads, the increased frequency of deaths coincides with a rise in construction in general, as well as an uptick in less-experienced workers entering the industry.
"We recently investigated deaths at jobsites in Kansas City, Missouri; Framingham, Massachusetts; Brookhaven, Georgia; Bellevue, Washington and Albuquerque, New Mexico," Dean McKenzie, the deputy director of OSHA's directorate for construction, told the press. "And that was just one week."
While there are no hard numbers on construction worker deaths for 2013 or 2014 yet, due to the thorough nature of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' reports on these matters, OSHA is aware of a rising trend. McKenzie noted that the increase in construction site safety violations and related deaths began in 2011, and is drawing increasing concern every year. With construction workers making up only 7 percent of the employed population in the United States, they accounted for about 17 percent of work-related deaths in 2012.
McKensie warns that managers and site operators need to ensure that their workers are all fully trained and ready to be doing the jobs that they are employed for. As the economy recovers, jobs are opening up, but not all of the people being hired have the skills or training to fill those roles. In fact, 74 percent of contractors were reported as having problems finding skilled workers last year, according to a survey by Associated General Contractors of America.
By turning their focus on accident prevention and proper safety training, managers and site owners will be able to start reversing this trend and protecting their workers from injury and death, helping make the construction industry safer.