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Construction worker death highlights focus on safety

The recent death of a construction worker at a Connecticut building site, once again, highlights the dangers that workers face every day while on the job. Federal officials are investigating the incident, which occurred in Vernon on April 27.

According to reports, a 55-year-old woman was among a group of workers at an apartment complex construction site when she apparently fell through an open stairwell. The women fell about 10 feet and landed on a concrete floor. She died later at a Hartford hospital. The incident remains under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Nearly 1,000 construction worker fatalities were reported in 2016, accounting for 21 percent of the 4,693 work-related deaths that took place in the private industry, according to OSHA.

Construction’s ‘Fatal Four’

In the construction industry, falls were the leading cause of worker deaths, accounting for nearly 39 percent of the industry’s 991 fatalities. Here is a breakdown of what OSHA has dubbed construction’s “Fatal Four”:

  • Falls: 384 deaths (38.7 percent)
  • Struck by object: 93 (9.4 percent)
  • Electrocutions: 82 (8.3 percent)
  • Caught in/between: 72: (7.3 percent) This category relates to workers struck or crushed in equipment, building and material collapses.

Among all fall-related injury statistics – including non-construction – 20 percent of falls cause serious injuries including a head injury and broken bones such as wrist, arm, ankle and hip fractures. Falls also are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury.

Construction workers sometimes work long hours. As a result of such strenuous work, fatigue may set in. That’s why it’s important to take regular breaks. Construction workers also must be aware of their surroundings and continue to subscribe to proper safety training. This would include wearing personal protective equipment such as a hard hat, eyeglasses and hearing protection, as well as know how to properly work with equipment, tools and ladders.


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