One World Trade Center is the tallest building in the United States, standing at 104 stories and 1776 feet tall. It was completed in 2014. The Willis Tower (formerly  Sears Tower, its name until 2009) is 108-stories, 1,450-feet tall and was completed in 1974. It stood as the tallest building in the US until One World Trade was built. Now, Central Park Tower, which opened in 2020, is number two in the US. These towers, along with the other skyscrapers, take building to a whole other level when it comes to safety.  The tallest building in Florida is the Panorama Building in Miami, which was completed in 2017 and stands at 85 stories and 846 feet tall. Less than half the height of One World Trade, yet for someone who has the slightest fear of heights – it is petrifying.

According to Redditt, “Two out of every five construction workers fell to their deaths or were disabled while building New York’s skyscrapers in the 1920s.” This is really hard to envision or imagine nowadays, yet this is how far we have come.

May 3rd – the 10th this year is not only National Safety week it is National Stand Down for the Campaign to Prevent Falls. The Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction began in 2012 with construction industry stakeholders seeking a way to raise awareness. Falls from heights are the leading cause of injuries and fatalities in construction, with those coming disproportionately from small residential construction contractors.

That last line reinforced the importance of safety for all, despite high-rise building taking people to greater heights, the greatest amount of fall fatalities occurs on small residential jobsites and falls (in general) happen on all size jobsites.  According to the National Department of Health study, you have a 100% fatality rate falling from 8 stories or above and anything two stories and above, although you may not die, you may have life changing injuries, especially if you hit something on the way down.

For years, I have been a supporter of Construction Angels, who provide immediate financial assistance and grief counseling to the children and spouse left behind when a construction worker has a fatality on the job site. Since its inception, I have become aware of what a fatality does to a family, especially when most are preventable with proper safety protocols in place.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in December of 2020, “Construction and extraction occupations increased by 6 percent in 2019 to 1,066 –the highest figure since 2007.”  The below chart shows the progression from 2015-2019.

Fatal injuries for constructionHow can you make a difference?

It starts with awareness and belief in the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.  A fatality can not be undone.

Safety does not slow you down.  The cost of safety equipment is inexpensive compared to the emotional cost of loss of life.

If you see a potential hazard on a jobsite please inform and help educate others so on the next report we can celebrate an all-time low.

For additional education go to:

Construction Angels

Construction Safety Week

OSHA National Stand-Down to Prevent Falls

National Safety Council (NSC)

Associated General Contractors of America (AGC)

 

To National Safety Week every week,

Suzanne Breistol

 

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