The 2,100 inspectors that work for the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) keep a watchful eye over more than eight million work sites across the United States. These locations employ as many as 130 million workers. This means that the inspector-to-worker ratio is just shy of 60,000. The federal government maintains 85 local and 10 regional OSHA offices across the country.
OSHA's data show that in 2016, 991 private sector construction workers died. This accounts for 21 percent of the 4,693 total on-the-job fatalities that year. The leading causes of construction worker deaths that year were:
- Falls at 38.7 percent
- "Struck by" injuries at 9.4 percent
- Electrocutions at 8.3 percent
- Crushing injuries at 7.3
The top 10 violations that federal OSHA inspectors cited construction site owners for between Oct. 1, 2016, and Sept. 30, 2017, were varied. They had to do with either inadequate or nonexistent scaffolding and ladders as well as inferior fall or respiratory protection. Many sites didn't properly lock out or tag out hazardous energy. The wiring or electrical methods being used on numerous job sites were also inadequate. Staff also seemed to lack the necessary training to know how to prevent against falls. Policies for safeguarding machinery and powered industrial trucks were lacking as well.
OSHA contends that its enforcement of standards has historically improved workplace safety. They suggest that having them in place has reduced worker illnesses and injuries from 10.9 per 100 workers in 1972 to just 2.9 by 2016. Worker deaths have also gone down. What used to be 38 worker deaths per day in 1970 has been reduced to 14 by 2016.
When a construction site accident happens in New York, the penalties are so steep that the developer tends to want to brush it under the rug to avoid taking a financial hit or having their site closed down. That's why after seeking medical help you may want to speak to a Queens personal injury attorney. They can help you learn more about your legal rights.