The exponential growth seen in Van Nuys and throughout the rest of California in recent years is due in large part to the efforts of those working in the construction industry. While such professionals no doubt enjoy their work, they also likely understand that theirs is recognized as being one of America's most dangerous industries. The conditions in which they work coupled with the tools and equipment used when plying their trade can make their jobs extremely dangerous. Indeed, information shared by the Industrial Safety and Hygiene News shows that as many as one in ten construction workers are injured every year.
Workplace accidents and injuries are reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which has used the information received from construction companies to compile a list of the most common construction site accidents. Its information shows the following types of injuries to account for over 64 percent of the industry's workplace fatalities:
- Being struck by falling objects or debris
- Being caught in/between accidents
It is estimated that eliminating these four types of accidents would save over 600 lives every year.
How can such accidents be eliminated? The responsibility for providing safe working conditions as well as education on accident avoidance falls to the contracting companies that employ construction workers. Not only should every job site have standard safety equipment, but site foremen as well as general laborers should be instructed on accident procedures that detail how to properly summon first responders and render aid (if needed). Unfortunately, such as responsibility is often not met, as evidenced by ISHN data showing that lack of fall protection is the most violated OSHA workplace standard. Employers who fail to adequately protect construction workers could open themselves up to liability.