Every year, April 28 is the date selected to remember the workers who were killed on the job across the United States. Workers’ Memorial Day is a chance to honor workers who have lost their lives, but it is also a chance to take a broader look at workplace safety. In 2011, the number of people who lost their lives in workplace accidents exceeded 4,600. How many of these deaths could have been prevented if we as a society put a little more effort into protecting our workers. There is no reason why a person should have to put their life on the line to earn a paycheck.
While deaths occur in many occupations, few can match the dangers of construction work. Construction vehicles and, in the case of road construction workers, proximity to passenger vehicles are the cause of numerous fatal workplace accidents. Dangerous equipment, inadequate training and hazardous workplace conditions are also responsible for many deaths every year. Whether an accident involves scaffolding, faulty tools, or accidents involving cranes and other construction equipment, it is likely that it could have been prevented with a few minor safety adjustments.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration lays out standards for workplaces in order to secure safe working conditions for employees. In many fatal construction accident cases, one or more of these safety guidelines has been violated. Employers that ignore these standards often do so to save money or time. By doing so, they put workers’ lives in danger. The results can be tragic.
Source: EHS Today, “Workers’ Memorial Day: Report Urges Safety Reforms to End Preventable Deaths,” by Laura Walter, 26 April 2013