Falls top cause of construction deaths

By Kan Chih-chi and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Wed, Oct 30, 2013 - Page 5

Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, according to a report by the Council of Labor Affairs on the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the industry.

The report on the total and average death ratios in the construction industry was based on statistics gathered over the past three years, the council said.

Rooftop workers had the highest number of casualties at 49 over the past three years, or an average of 16.3 people per year, the report showed.

The second-highest number of deaths occurred among workers who were preparing or welding together metal beams or plates, with 34 deaths recorded over the past three years, or an average of 11.3 people per year, the report said, adding that the primary cause of death was from falls.

Cleaning crews in construction sites had the third-highest death rate, with 31 people dying over the past three years, averaging 10.3 per year. The primary cause of death was also from falls, either down elevator shafts or from the edges of buildings, the report said.

Construction workers in other fields, such as welders and cutters, scaffolding workers, bulldozer and crane operators, painters and spray painters, bar benders and air-conditioning installers, were also on the top 10 highest death rate list.

The council said that most of these incidents occurred in small to medium-size construction sites, and the most common cause of death was falls.

The council said it would step up inspections of construction sites to provide workers with information that can help increase safety on the job.

These include reinforcing safety protocols on site, such as observing caution while walking on beams or near edges, as well as setting up fall-prevention facilities and demonstrating how they work.