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Warmer weather means increased numbers of workplace injuries, deaths from falls

Kentucky Labor Cabinet urges awareness of fall hazards

FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 21, 2014) – With warmer weather comes an increase in Kentucky’s workplace deaths and injuries because of falls. Falls are the most common fatal hazard in the construction industry, accounting for nearly half the construction deaths in Kentucky from 2011 to present.

“Falls are the top cause of construction deaths,” said Kentucky Labor Cabinet Secretary Larry Roberts. “With proper training and equipment use, we can minimize the tragedies that happen all too frequently in the Commonwealth.”

The Labor Cabinet is working in conjunction with Federal OSHA’s efforts to raise awareness for fall prevention. Each year in the U.S., falls kill more than 200 construction workers and seriously injure 10,000 more. For information on the national initiative, visit www.osha.gov/stopfalls. For more details on fall prevention, please visit www.stopconstructionfalls.com.

The U.S. Department of Labor has also called for a national safety stand-down from June 2 to 6 to raise awareness among employers and workers about the hazards of falls. For suggestions on how to prepare for a stand down, click here.

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet reviewed all deaths in the construction industry in Kentucky from a timeframe of 2011 to present. The Labor Cabinet found that 21 construction workers died from workplace hazards in that period, with nine deaths resulting from falls, eight deaths from workers being struck by an object, three from electrocution and one from hyperthermia. See the chart below.

fallhazards

In addition to the nine construction fall deaths, there were six other workplace deaths that resulted from falling. Three of those deaths were in the landscaping services industry.

The workplace deaths in this study refer only to those related to Kentucky OSH enforcement activities and voluntary compliance services, which are extended to both the public and private sectors in Kentucky with the exception of employees of the federal government and employers under the authority of federal agencies other than OSHA, such as the Mine Safety and Health Administration or the Federal Railroad Administration. Federal OSHA retains jurisdiction in Kentucky for private sector maritime activities as well as for Tennessee Valley Authority employment, military bases, and other properties ceded to the U.S. government.

In an effort to increase safety and health in the workplace, the Kentucky Labor Cabinet co-hosts the annual Governor’s Safety and Health Conference and Exposition in conjunction with the Kentucky Safety and Health Network Inc., a nonprofit organization representing individuals from all facets of Kentucky’s workplaces.

The 30th Annual Governor’s Safety and Health Conference and Exposition will take place May 6-9, 2014, at the Galt House in Louisville. The conference will feature pre-conference courses along with general sessions with outstanding keynote speakers, and concurrent workshops focusing on state of the art techniques, current issues and trends in workplace safety and health.

An extensive training on fall protection will be included in the conference for the first time this year. This new class will include a three-hour classroom session along with a three-hour hands-on practicum with a climbing tower.

For more information on the Governor’s Safety and Health Conference, please visit www.kshn.net.

The conference is in line with Gov. Steve Beshear’s efforts to improve the health of all Kentuckians. The Governor launched kyhealthnow in February as an aggressive and wide-ranging initiative significantly to reduce incidents and deaths from Kentucky’s dismal health rankings and habits. It builds on Kentucky’s successful implementation of health care reform and uses multiple strategies over the next several years to improve the state’s collective health.

 

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