The construction industry continues to be the most hazardous industry in the State of North Carolina according to the North Carolina Department of Labor. While 2018 had been the deadliest year for the state’s construction workers in more than five years, 2019 figures show fatalities increasing by almost 10%. For 2019, the Department of Labor reported 53 work-related fatalities. Of these, 41% (20) were construction-related deaths.
The most common cause of fatalities in the construction industry was falling from an elevated platform. Such falls accounted for 32% of all deaths. In most cases, the deaths could have been prevented if the worker had used proper fall protection equipment or followed proper safety procedures.
Due to a combination of increased construction work across our state, and the increase in construction-related fatalities, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health will continue its special emphasis program for construction through 2020 to focus additional resources on problem areas. Contractors should, therefore, expect more visits to project sites, and increases in citations issued.
Employers in the construction industry should review, with legal counsel, safety plans and training programs to make certain they follow current OSHA Standards. Emphasis on employee training, as well as emphasis on the employer enforcement of safety rules, are key components of a safe construction worksite.