Construction Fall Fatality Rates Drop Despite Overall Number Increase

The construction industry accounted for more than half of the total occupational fatalities due to falling to a lower level in 2017, with 367 fatalities. This is according to a new report titled, “Trends of Fall Injuries and Prevention in the Construction Industry” from CPWR, the research and training arm of North America’s Building Trades Unions. Though glaziers are included they are not broken out separately.

Fall fatalities have increased 45% from 2011 to 2017, with an increase each year. However, overall construction employment has also increased during that period. Overall fatalities decreased 2% from 2016 to 2017. Falls to a lower level are the leading cause of construction fatalities, making up 94% of all fatal falls in 2017. All types of falls, slips and trips grew from 2011 to 2017.

Falls from roofs, ladders and scaffolds and staging accounted for nearly three-quarters of fatalities to a lower level between 2015 and 2017, with falls from scaffolding and staging representing approximately 15% of fatal falls to a lower level.


According to the report, the number of nonfatal fall injuries resulting in days away from work in construction dropped to its lowest level since during the recession (18,100 injuries in 2010), then steadily increased to 24,200 injuries in 2017. The injury rate showed an overall downward trend, decreasing from 39.5 per 10,000 FTEs in 2011 to 37.8 per 10,000 FTEs in 2017. Despite this rate reduction, the construction industry was still third out of all industry sectors for nonfatal fall injuries in 2017.

While construction laborers had the highest number of nonfatal fall injuries in 2017, helpers had the highest rate with 153.2 per 10,000 FTEs. Ironworkers were third with 79.6 per 10,000 FTEs.


The number of fall fatalities has increased as construction employment recovered after the economic recession. Despite this increase, the rate of fatal falls has been stable and decreased slightly in 2017. According to the CPWR report, the National Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction has impacted the rate as more organizations and companies become involved in the campaign.

According to the report, contractors and associations have reached 222,300 individuals, unions have reached 208,500 individuals, manufacturers have reached 112,000 individuals and safety and insurance agencies have reached 33,500 individuals.

CPWR, in collaboration with the Center on Network Science at the University of Colorado and Visible Network Labs, conducted a social network analysis of the campaign’s impacts. Of the total respondents, 75% noticed an increase in fall prevention activities at their organization or in the industry.

OSHA Makes Updates to Simplify Employers’ Jobs

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updated several regulations effective July 15. The goal is to simplify employers’ jobs by clarifying and adjusting standards that may be confusing, outdated or unnecessary.

The fourth final rule under OSHA’s Standards Improvement Project revises 14 provisions to regulations that are intended to alleviate paperwork, reduce processing time and save money for employers while improving health and safety conditions for employees.

While many of the changes simply clarify terminology, employers are advised to review the updates to ensure that their current safety policies and procedures follow the OSHA standard.

Here is a list of revisions that may be important to review:
1. Revisions made to the recordkeeping requirement that clarified the criteria for determining if a hearing-loss injury is work-related.
2. Elimination of the requirement for a periodic chest X-ray for certain
toxic and hazardous substances standards.
3. Requirement for provision of the latitude and longitude of the worksite
or other location-identification information in a conspicuous location.
This is needed in case of emergency on a remote worksite that does not
have emergency services’ automatic-location capability.
4. Minimum breaking strength for lifelines adjusted from 5,400 pounds to 5,000 pounds.
5. Elimination of unnecessary collection and use of Social Security
Numbers in agency systems and programs.

There are still several other regulatory updates in the approval process for revision; these were thoroughly addressed at the end of the Federal Register report.

This is the fourth and final rule as part of the Standards Improvement Project that has been operational since 1995 as a result of a presidential memorandum to improve government regulations. The three previous revisions were made in 1998, 2005 and 2011. These final revisions were originally proposed in 2016.

Quanex Ohio Plant Hits 1 Million Hours Without Lost Time Injury

Quanex Building Products’ Cambridge, Ohio, facility recently achieved more than one million man-hours worked without a lost time injury—a significant milestone that is a part of the company’s overall safety culture, according to the company.

“We’ve seen a reduction in accidents and injuries that can be attributed to a great safety culture that starts at the top with the CEO, COO and divisions presidents who are all committed to providing the safest workplace in our industry through continuous improvement,” says Richard Mack, director of environmental health and safety. “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished at the Cambridge plant, and at every location where great strides toward safe operation are happening every day.”

In addition to the Cambridge facility’s one-million-hour milestone, the total recordable incident rate and severity rate for Quanex have improved by 62% compared to 2012, as of June 30, 2019.

“Not only is having a great safety record important to Quanex, but it is also important to our customers from a sustainability perspective,” adds Mack.” Customers need suppliers that are dependable and that consistently have the resources available to service their needs.

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