More than 800 U.S. construction workers died as the result of struck-by incidents from 2011 to 2015, according to a new report from the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR). That's more than any other industry.
CPWR reported that 52% of those fatalities involved being hit by objects or equipment, and the remainder were the result of vehicle strikes. Of the vehicle-related incidents, 57% of those resulting in fatalities happened in work zones, with highway maintenance workers reporting the highest rate of fatal struck-by injuries.
Workers 65 and older died as a result of struck-by incidents at higher rates than did younger workers. The risk of nonfatal struck-by injuries in construction is almost twice that of all other industries combined.
The prevalence of struck-by incidents has pushed organizations like the Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA) to come up with plans for curbing such hazards. Such accidents have since been incorporated into OSHA's Focus Four initiative, which concentrates training and resources on the most common types of construction accidents.
Falls, caught-in and caught-between, and electrocution hazards are also on that list. OSHA has been particularly concerned with falls, which are the leading cause of construction deaths. Last summer, OSHA increased its maximum civil penalty in compliance with a mandated rate increase, which also had the effect of raising the stakes around compliance with its fall-protection rules.
Whether the construction industry will be made aware of the potential fines peer businesses are facing for such indicents, and thus what they, too, could be subject to, is uncertain.
Prior to President Donald Trump's inauguration, OSHA issued regular press releases about what it considered to be the most egregious safety violations. Those announcements, often considered to be "shaming" mechanism, have all but disappeared since Trump took office.
That's likely the result of the administration's attempts to reduce regulations facing the business community more generally. However, where OSHA's citations are concerned, industry watchers have stepped in to share news of major fines and critical safety violations.