The Center for Construction Research and Training has released a study showing elevated risks of illness and injury for construction workers. Three out of four construction workers suffer a disabling injury over the course of a 45 year career. The chances of suffering a fatal injury are 1 in 200. These numbers are significantly higher than those of the average worker. In addition to suffering from a high rate of accidents, construction workers were also found to suffer high rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. That condition is associated with long-term exposure to smoke, fumes and pollution of the type that is common in the construction field.
While every construction worker faces safety concerns, the study found that fatal accidents strike Hispanic construction workers 20 percent more frequently than white workers. Younger workers also suffer higher rates of injury, potentially due to inexperience or to being asked to do more dangerous tasks. Common causes of injury are falls and machinery accidents.
The study was part of the discussion at the annual American Public Health Association meeting. It underlined a common belief among construction industry experts that, while safety has improved over the years, more needs to be done to protect workers. Too many construction workers are hurt due to unsafe equipment, dangerous work sites, improper training and insufficient safety measures. By shining a spotlight on the unfortunate accident figures, the study may help to protect construction workers throughout the nation.
Construction workers and their families should continue to be vigilant in protecting their own safety. Unsafe working conditions affect workers all over the country. By reporting injuries and holding employers, equipment manufacturers and other responsible parties accountable for the harm they cause, construction workers can protect themselves and their fellow employees.
Source: U.S. News & World Report LP, "'Hard Hats' Still Have High Rates of Injury, Illness: Report," 31 October 2011