Whenever the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases its list of the deadliest jobs in America, some type of construction work is on that list.
According to the BLS, there were 991 fatal work injuries in construction in 2016. They listed first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers as the ninth deadliest job with 134 fatal injuries and a fatal injury rate of 18 per 100,000 workers.
Roofers were number four (behind only aircraft pilots, fishers, and logging workers) with 101 fatal injuries and a fatal injury rate of 48.6 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers.
It's Wise to be Properly Insured
No one would argue that construction is a dangerous job, and one of the elements that make it dangerous is the use of heavy equipment. According to the Center for Construction and Research Training (CPWR), vehicles and heavy mobile equipment caused 7,681 deaths from 1992 to 2010 with about 404 deaths annually.
Plus, even when vehicles and equipment are involved in an accident, they are often not listed as the cause of death. Given these facts, it's clear that having the proper contractor insurance is key for those in the construction industry.
Types of Dangerous Heavy Equipment
Cranes have been the most dangerous heavy equipment machinery used in the construction industry for the past two decades. CPWR found that from 1992 through 2006, 632 of all the construction fatalities reported were caused by cranes. In 2008, crane collapses caused 25 deaths and 59 injuries, contact with overhead power lines resulted in ten fatalities and eight injuries. Contact with crane load caused six deaths and ten injuries.
But cranes aren’t the only dangerous type of heavy equipment. Here is a list of the top five most dangerous construction equipment:
- Dump trucks
Heavy Equipment Safety
Yes, experience does go a long way to ensure the safety of heavy equipment operators and those working around them. The danger comes when someone who has been working on the job for a long time is lured into a false sense of security and lets their guard down.
Distractions Can Cause Accidents
Today, one of the most common dangers may be simple distractions – both external and internal - that can affect veteran and novice heavy equipment operators alike, and many of these distractions can be avoided.
Before cell phones became so ubiquitous, many heavy equipment operators listened to radios. This was distracting enough (and could keep the operator from hearing if something is wrong with the machinery or someone is shouting at them), but cell phones have taken that distraction to a whole new level.
Today’s cell phones allow operators to listen to music, text, watch videos, play games, check social media, search for information online and make phone calls. Some operators use earbuds to block out external noises. All of this can lead to distraction and danger.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has addressed the use of cell phones in cranes. OSHA states; “The [crane or derrick] operator must not engage in any practice or activity that diverts his/her attention while actually engaged in operating the equipment, such as the use of cellular phones (other than when used for signal communications).”
While OSHA doesn’t address this with other types of heavy equipment, it’s a smart safety measure to employ across the board to both operators and those working around heavy equipment.
Do You Have a Safety Policy?
The best way to avoid distractions of any kind and keep your workers safe is to have a safety policy in place that forbids the use of cell phones while operating or working around heavy equipment, educate workers on that policy, and address any issues as soon as they arise.
Protect Your Business with the Right Type of Insurance
Unfortunately, accidents still happen, but the right insurance can help protect you and your employees if an injury does occur. Workers Compensation Insurance, which is often a state mandate, can provide wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured on the job.
Commercial Liability Insurance can help protect your business from lawsuits. Various types of insurance can be combined to create a custom Contractor Insurance policy as well.
To learn more about these and other types of commercial insurance, call American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or contact us online.