Prime the pump
November 8, 2022
Occupational injury rate among construction workers higher than all other workers

Did you know that construction is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world? The United States Bureau of Labour Statistics identified the construction industry among industries such as fishing, aviation, lumber, metalworking, agriculture, mining and transportation to be some of the most dangerous for workers.

Among the 10 deadliest construction projects in history was the Willow Island Disaster of 1978. “A crane failed and collapsed in the Willow Island and hit the tower which caused it to collapse and crushed 51 workers to death.” An entire workforce was wiped out.

Construction incurs more occupational fatalities than any other sector. In an article by Long titled “This history of occupational safety and health”, it was reported that in 2009, the fatal occupational injury rate among construction workers in the U.S. was nearly three times that of all other workers.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has identified the top causes of injuries on a construction site as follows:

“Falling from heights: A worker may fall from a building, scaffolding or piece of machinery to the ground below. Workers can also fall into holes or ditches on a construction site.

“Trench collapse: When a trench collapses, a worker’s air supply can be cut off, and the worker can be buried alive or suffer crushing injuries.

“Collapsed scaffolding: OSHA has strict rules to ensure the safety and stability of scaffolding, but things can still go wrong, causing a worker to plunge to his death or to fall and sustain serious injury.

“Electric shock and or arc flash/blast: Working with generators, power tools, machinery and electrical wiring all put construction workers at risk of suffering electrical burns.

“Failure to use appropriate protective gear: Hard hats, safety glasses and other personal protective equipment should always be worn on a construction site to prevent injury.

“Repetitive motion injuries: When the body is repeatedly asked to do the same things again and again, the muscles and soft tissues can become worn and damaged, limiting mobility and causing pain.”

With several multimillion-dollar construction projects on the way here and more on the horizon, construction is considered the business to be in currently in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Therefore, it is hoped that a conversation on occupational safety and health best practices for construction workers will be had amongst contractors and construction managers list of priority.

There is an Occupational Safety and Health six-part Workplace Conversation Series currently underway here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It is being hosted by Jaric St. Vincent Limited and is aimed at awakening a consciousness in business owners of the inevitable, i.e., the operationalized of the SVG OSH Act 2017.
The conversation takes place in the form of a monthly two-day workshop. In October, the conversation continued at the Sunset Shores Hotel where the focus was on Establishing and Managing Safety Committees.

The SVG OSH Act 2017 states that:

44. Every committee established at an industrial establishment shall –
(a) keep under review the measures taken to ensure the safety and health of persons at the industrial establishment;
(b) investigate any matter at an industrial establishment –
(i) which a member of the committee or a person employed at the industrial establishment considers is not safe or is a risk to health, and
(ii) which has been brought to the attention of the employer;
(c) attempt to resolve any matter referred to in paragraph (b) and, if it is unable to do so, shall request the Chief Inspector to undertake an inspection of the industrial establishment for that purpose; and
(d) have such other functions as may be prescribed.

The Conservation Series continue on the 23rd and 24th November where the critical issue of Conducting and Documenting Risk Assessments will be discussed – safety and health is every body’s business.

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