A recent crane collapse in the Westchester County city of Hawthorne that seriously injured two construction workers highlights the dangers faced by those who work in this industry. One worker suffered a severe head injury, while the other had a partial leg amputation.
The afternoon incident occurred on March 17 at the building site of an Amazon warehouse. News reports note that construction workers were setting a piece of steel when it and the crane collapsed. The incident remains under investigation and begs the questions: “Did the employer comply with workplace safety standards?” And “How safe are you?”
‘Focus Four Hazards’
Outdoor construction crews face numerous hazards, including becoming the victim of a “struck-by accident” as these two workers in New York were. Struck-by accidents are the leading cause of non-fatal construction injuries.
Such an accident is among the construction industry’s “Focus Four Hazards” as deemed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The other three are falls, caught-in/in-between and electrocutions.
These four types of accidents account for nearly 60% of all annual construction fatalities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Falls and struck-by accidents account for more than half of construction fatalities
Citing statistics from 2019, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) broke down the percentage of construction fatalities related to each Focus Four Hazard:
- Falls: accounted for 36.4% of all construction deaths (falling from scaffolding, ladders and roofs)
- Struck-by accident:4% (from equipment, moving vehicles or falling objects)
- Electrocutions2% (contact with live electrical equipment and wiring caused more than half of electrocution-related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Caught in/in between:4% (being squeezed, crushed, pinched or caught in equipment or when a wall or trench caves in or collapses)
Construction work can be a dangerous job. Too many American families clearly know this.
No room for negligence by employers
Investigation into the crane collapse in Westchester County continues, and an OSHA investigator was at the site. Understand that employers have the responsibility to protect their workers, provide them with working equipment and the proper training and protection. If they do not, that is negligence on the employer’s part.