The recent death of a construction worker in Seattle highlights the dangers people face when employed in this industry. Construction work can be rewarding, but also grueling and hazardous. On Sept. 20, a 31-year-old plasterer died while working on the extensive expansion of the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle.
The man died at the scene, and state regulators continue their investigation. A fire department radio report cited that a lift fell from the second level of the construction site. A construction lift is equipment that allows workers to reach high spots without the use of a scaffolding.
Nearly 1,100 construction workers died in 2019
In this recent incident, authorities have yet to disclose whether the construct lift fell while the worker was on it or whether the lift landed on top of the victim. Each of these two accidents is considered among Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) “Focus Four Hazards.”
This is a quartet of construction-related accidents that cause the most deaths in the industry. They include falls, caught-in/in-between, struck by an object and electrocutions.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 1,061 construction workers died in 2019, a 5% increase from the previous year and the largest total reached since 2007. Fatalities in the construction industry accounted for nearly 20% of the 5,333 fatal occupational injuries in 2019.
Construction industry tragedies like the recent one in Seattle occur too often. This case remains under investigation. However, sometimes, these accidents and deaths are preventable. Negligence on the employer’s part may play a role and so may faulty equipment.