The construction industry is grappling with a concerning trend: an increase in fatalities resulting from slips, trips and falls. Despite advances in safety protocols and equipment, these accidents continue to pose a notable risk to construction workers.
Understanding the factors contributing to this rise can help employers and workers take proactive measures to prevent future tragedies.
Unsafe working conditions
A primary reason for the increase in construction-related slips, trips, and falls is unsafe working conditions. Construction sites often contain multiple hazards, including uneven surfaces, slippery floors and exposed edges. Failure to address these hazards through proper safety protocols can result in accidents and fatalities.
Lack of proper training
Another factor contributing to the rise in slip-and-fall construction deaths is a lack of proper training among workers. Many construction tasks require specific skills and knowledge. This is particularly true for those involving work at heights or on unstable surfaces. Without adequate training, workers may be unaware of the risks associated with their tasks or how to mitigate those risks effectively. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of accidents.
Pressure to meet deadlines
Pressure to meet project deadlines can also lead to shortcuts in safety procedures and increased risk-taking behavior among construction workers. In a competitive industry where timelines and budgets are tight, there may be a temptation to prioritize speed over safety. However, cutting corners on safety measures can result in serious injuries or fatalities.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that slips, trips and falls caused more than a third of construction deaths in 2021. This is almost a 6% increase from the year prior. Most of these deaths involved workers falling to a lower level and suffering serious injuries as a result.