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Construction: Falls remain the top cause of death

Newly released figures show falls continue to be the deadliest potential hazard for New York City construction workers. According to the 2020 "Deadly Skyline" report, 64% of all construction fatalities in NYC in 2018 were due to falls.

This continues a trend we've seen for many years. Over the past decade, 78 workers in New York City were killed in falls, and on average these types of incidents account for about half of all construction deaths.

This is clearly an area of real danger. Yet industry violation statistics suggest those responsible for worker safety are doing far too little to address it.

Standard violations related to fall hazards

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) tracks the types of violations recorded during inspections. According to OSHA figures, four fall-related standards are among the 10 most frequent types of violations in the construction industry. These violations are:

  • Fall protections - most violations
  • Scaffolding requirements - third-most violations
  • Ladders - sixth-most violations
  • Fall protection training requirements - eighth-most violations

By publishing these findings, OSHA says it hopes to alert employers to these common problems so they can be fixed.

Providing a safe work site

Many of the reported injuries and deaths that happen on construction sites are preventable. Simple steps like proper guard rails and effective training can have a real impact. Yet so often, site owners and contractors cut corners.

These parties have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace. When they fail to do so, it puts workers in harm's way - and they may be found liable for any injuries or fatalities that occur as a result of their neglect.

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