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  • M J Brunette
  • Correspondence to:
 Professor Maria J Brunette
 Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, One University Avenue, Lowell, MA 01854, USA; Maria_Brunetteuml.edu

While it is known that Hispanics have a continuous growing participation in the construction workforce and that their fatal and non-fatal occupational injuries are higher than any other ethnic group, very little construction safety and health research has been conducted in the United States. Research that focuses on safety and health of Hispanic workers employed in the construction industry might prove beneficial in reducing injuries and promoting safe and decent workplaces for all.

The purpose of this article was twofold. First, to propose a research agenda where topics such as surveillance, intervention research on high risk occupations, intervention effectiveness evaluation, design and development of effective and appropriate safety training and educational materials, and the socioeconomic impact of injuries and illnesses, are investigated among the Hispanic construction workforce. Second, to present relevant aspects inherent to this particular population that need to be incorporated into the design and development stages of any safety and health research initiative. They include the occupational, social, economic, and cultural background of Hispanic workers; use of a participatory approach, proper selection and use of translation methods; and conducting collaborative research. Certain limitations and challenges related to the availability of resources for conducting safety and health research on Hispanic workers are further discussed.

  • OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • SHTG, Susan Harwood Training Grant
  • occupational injuries
  • construction industry
  • safety and health research
  • Hispanic workers

https://doi.org/10.1136/ip.2004.005389

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Safety concerns for construction workers go beyond physical injuries, says expert

  • Florence Gonsalves
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Two men in hard hats on a construction site.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the construction industry has one of the highest rates of suicide among professions with 6,000 workers dying by suicide in 2022 compared to 1,000 who died from a construction-related work injury. 

“Construction safety, health, and well-being are like a three-legged stool,” said Virginia Tech’s Brian Kleiner , head of the Myers-Lawson School of Construction  in the College of Engineering . “If one leg is weak, the entire stool is unstable. Also, safety, health, and well-being are not mutually exclusive. For example, a worker with mental health issues may take more safety risks because they are distracted or more focused on mental issues and less able to pay attention to the physical labor.”  

Kleiner said numerous factors contribute to instances of suicide, including the demographics of the population. "Most construction workers are in the age range where we see the highest rates of suicide nationwide. Many workers are veterans who struggle with PTSD, and some workers engage in substance abuse with opioid-use frequently traced back to suicides. Another consideration is the correlation between physical and mental health, which can have a domino effect.

“There is no doubt that construction is a physically demanding occupation,” Kleiner said. “Researchers in Australia have shown a relationship between physical pain, such as musculoskeletal disorders, and mental health disorders. The problem is somewhat cyclical: Workers are in pain. Their mental health is affected, which in turn decreases their performance. This leads to increased problems on the job that compounds mental health problems, and so on.”

Currently, the construction industry is facing a worker shortage, and while a high suicide rate doesn't help with reputation, it doesn't impact significantly the number of workers directly. However, there are indirect effects that can greatly impact the remaining workforce. For example, colleagues can be distracted by a suicide and begin to question their own mental health. 

To counteract high suicide rates, employers can provide successful interventions like lenient leave policies and having counselors available, ideally 24/7. Most importantly, Kleiner said, employers should be trained in crisis management, including the ability to detect problems before they escalate. “The first line of defense is to talk about it, and that’s a real challenge,” he said. 

About Kleiner

Brian Kleiner studies safety, health, and well-being in relation to construction safety. His research considers the whole person and is human-centered, exploring safety factors such as falls from heights, health factors such as musculoskeletal problems, as well as well-being factors such as suicide to holistically evaluate and improve conditions for construction workers.

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Margaret Ashburn

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thesis on safety in construction

The 10 most dangerous jobs in America

jalopnik

Despite the risks, many of these jobs have growth potential, an analysis by a personal injury law firm found

Construction worker

There were 5,486 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2022, a 5.7% increase from a year earlier, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics .

Lines of work that involve vehicles or heights are among the most dangerous in the U.S., with more than half of on-the-job deaths in 2022 stemming from falls or collisions.

With workplace injuries on the rise, it’s natural to think that there is waning interest in fields that are considered higher-risk. But that’s not what St. Louis personal injury law firm Burger Law found. The firm analyzed BLS data to see which jobs were the most dangerous in 2022 — and what each job’s growth potential was, with many areas poised to add jobs in the coming years.

Click through to see the most dangerous jobs in the U.S., all of which have fatality rates well above the national average of 3.7 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.

10. Agricultural workers

Farm worker

Miscellaneous agricultural workers come in at no. 10 on the list, with 20 fatal work injuries per 100,000 employees in 2022. It has one of the highest rates of non-fatal injuries, coming in at 4.5%.

This area of work is projected to see a 2% decline in jobs over the next few years, the law firm found.

9. Underground mining operations

Mining

Next on the list is underground mining operations. This job saw 20.1 deadly work injuries per 100,000 employees in 2022, and 2 non-fatal injuries per 100 workers.

Mining work is expected to remain flat in the coming years.

8. Iron and steel workers

Steel work

Iron and steel workers had the next highest number of fatal injuries, with 21.3 per 100,000 workers that year. The job has a non-fatal injury rate of 3.7%, and the field is poised for an estimated growth of 1.8%.

7. Refuse and recyclable material collectors

Garbage collectors

There were 22.6 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers in the refuse and recyclable collecting business, and 3 non-fatal injuries per 100 in 2022.

However, this line of work is projected to experience 8.8% growth in jobs in the coming years — the second-highest of all the careers on this list.

6. Truck drivers and other drivers

Semitrucks

Drivers, including truck drivers and sales or other drivers, experienced 30.4 fatal injuries per 100,000 employees — and was the field with the highest number of overall employees, with more than 3.5 million workers. It had a non-fatal injury rate of 3.5%.

These jobs are expected to jump 10% in the coming years, as demand increases for deliveries.

5. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers

Engineer

Coming in at no. 5 are aircraft pilots and flight engineers. These workers had 35.9 fatal injuries per 100,000 employees in 2022, and 5.4 non-fatal injuries for every 100.

This line of work is projected to see a 4% increase in jobs, the law firm found.

4. Construction laborers and helpers

Construction worker

On-site construction employees — from construction workers themselves to assistants at the location — are fourth on the list. This work saw 38.5 deadly injuries per 100,000 workers, and a non-fatal injury rate of 2.4%.

This field is also going to see an estimated 4% rise in job opportunities in the coming years.

3. Fishing and hunting workers

Fishing

With 50.9 fatal injuries per 100,000 and 4.2 non-fatal injuries per 100 workers, people who fish and hunt for a living are in the third-most dangerous profession in the U.S.

Like mining, job growth in this field is expected to stay flat over the next few years.

Roofer

Roofers are in the second-most dangerous profession in the country, with 57.5 deadly injuries per 100,000 employees in that line of work. The field also saw 2.4 non-fatal injuries per 100 workers in 2022.

Roofing is projected to see a 2% increase in jobs.

1. Logging workers

Logging

The no. 1 most dangerous job in the U.S. is in logging. Logging workers have a fatal injury rate of 100.7 per 100,000 workers, making it the deadliest career analyzed by Burger Law. These workers have a non-fatal injury rate of 3.1%.

This field is projected to decline by 5% in the next few years, according to the law firm.

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Leader calls for work zone safety after crashes injure three, kill one so far in 2024

by SHANNON STOWERS

{p}West Virginia’s transportation secretary is calling for drivers to slow down after three state road workers have been injured and a contractor killed in construction zone crashes this year. (WCHS){/p}

West Virginia’s transportation secretary is calling for drivers to slow down after three state road workers have been injured and a contractor killed in construction zone crashes this year. (WCHS)

WEST VIRGINIA (WCHS) — West Virginia’s transportation secretary is calling for drivers to slow down after three state road workers have been injured and a contractor killed in construction zone crashes this year.

The calls for increased safety come after a July 10 crash on Interstate 79 in Harrison County where a West Virginia Division of Highways mower operator and the driver of a pickup truck were seriously injured.

In April, a woman working flag operations in a work zone in Jefferson County was killed after a driver allegedly drove around a vehicle that stopped in the work zone and ran over her, the WVDOH news release said.

Two WVDOH workers were also injured in separate crashes – one in Clarksburg and another in Braxton County – in March. Both crashes were allegedly caused by drivers speeding through work zones, the news release said.

West Virginia Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston said the issue begins with responsible driving.

“This has got to be something that we address at our values level, our West Virginia values level,” West Virginia Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston said in the news release. “We’ve got to show that we care about our fellow citizens.”

Wriston said the DOH plans to partner with the state education system to emphasize safe driving beginning at a young age.

thesis on safety in construction

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July 15, 2024 11:15 AM

  • Jabari Gibbs

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A man experiencing homelessness in Brunswick uses The Well as a place to safely rest and escape the heat in summer 2023. Credit: Justin Taylor/The Current

A man experiencing homelessness in Brunswick uses The Well as a place to safely rest and escape the heat in summer 2023. Credit: Justin Taylor/The Current

Jabari Gibbs, The Current

The rift between Glynn County residents who see the people as threats to neighborhood safety and those working to improve outcomes for the homeless is festering this summer. Last month, County Commissioners tabled a vote on whether to permit a faith-based organization to build a night shelter for local men with jobs but nowhere to live and left advocates with no clear path forward.

Saved By Grace is seeking  a special-use permit to aid a specific group of homeless individuals: men who have verifiable income, jobs where they work 40 hours a week and must pass a background check. The organization, run by Donna Howard and Marie Gamble, describes its programming as a six-month transitional work program that helps men get back on their feet. 

Donna Howard (left) and Maria Gamble (right). Credit: Provided by Howard, Gamble

Donna Howard (left) and Maria Gamble (right). Credit: Provided by Howard, Gamble

“We realized the need for men is far greater than those that are on the street as a woman. So we also realize that the man is basically the head of household,” said Donna Howard, Co-founder and Executive Director of Saved by Grace. “He is the father to children that need to have their daddies and all those things that God says he is, and there’s a lot of things that are out there for women. But there’s not all those things for the man that’s homeless.”

Howard and Gamble got permission for the permit from the Mainland Planning Commission (MPC), in early June, which decided to allow a change in zoning for the proposed property on a four-acre lot at 5140 Blythe Island Highway. But, faced with public skepticism and fear, the county commissioners declined to vote on the decision on June 18.

What is Saved By Grace? 

Howard and Gamble worked full-time jobs when they started Saved By Grace in 2016. Howard worked as a preschool teacher and Gamble in Jekyll Island’s hospitality industry for over 30 years. When they met at church, they decided to take on the full-time spiritual mission of helping people in need. Hence the name of their organization.

“We found ourselves at the same church, same congregation, of course, didn’t know it at the time, but our kids had grown up together … We never knew each other, a conversation between the two of us, we realized that we both kind of had the same passion for helping other people that are less fortunate,” said Howard. “Not necessarily the homeless person at that time. At that time, it was just like the single mom at the trailer park across the street, helping her with meals and kind of getting some of the stress off of her about preparing a meal or bringing her things for a meal kind of thing, so that’s kind of where it started.”

They professionalized their mission and received 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. 

“It just became addicting. And you know, for me, having been in the hotel business for 30 years and not ever really having done anything else, I just kind of always felt like there was a gap like there was something missing,” said Gamble. 

The organization’s beginning stages consisted of helping people living in motels across the city get the basic necessities. They also delivered beds to families with children sleeping on floors and partnered with local businesses to deliver food. In 2018, they turned their focus to Glynn’s unsheltered population. 

“It was really sad when we did go out after our full-time job, our comfort, our personal comfort, to go out there and see those people on the sidewalk sleeping or on the sidewalk sitting on the park bench trying to take a nap or whatever it may be,” said Howard. “Knowing that after we left those people, we were able to get home, get in our comfortable car with heat or AC wherever the season may be, get in a comfortable bed with heat or AC whatever the season may be, and know that we left those people on the street. That’s why we knew that there’s something to be done. Because we saw it every single day.”

In 2019, the duo secured enough funding for Howard to leave her full-time job and work as executive director in early 2019. Gamble did the same during Covid.

Early concerns 

As the homeless population in Glynn – and the backlash against the homeless population — has grown more acute, the women have sought solutions that can help keep able-bodied people find work and shelter.

That quest brought them to the MPC board in early June.

The body of seven citizens, appointed by the Board of Commissioners for four-year terms is in charge of making decisions and offering recommendations concerning the county’s growth and development.

The current planning codes do not allow overnight accommodations, and the property previously operated as a church where Saved by Grace wants to operate its shelter. 

Minutes  from the MPC meeting revealed the concerns raised, including the “distance from the facility to bus stops, increased crime rates, homelessness in the community, walk-ups accessing the property, the facility’s location, traffic congestion, vacant homeless shelters in the community, privacy fence, encampments behind the property, increased foot traffic, the neighborhood aesthetic, lack of streetlights and property value.” 

Why is there still an issue?

At the MPC meeting on June 4, 2024, Sherrye Gibbs made a motion to recommend approval of the special use permit with the condition there would be no day services offered. It passed with a 4-2-1 vote. Bill Edgy and Neal Boatright voted against the motion and Kevin Higgins was recused — he serves as the architect on the project.

The pushback shocked Howard, but the two women agreed to compromise their plans in order for the project to move forward.

“At the MPC meeting, all the people that stood in opposition, they were all about being afraid of the people that walk up to receive services, the man or the woman that walks up to get an ID, the man or woman that walks up to get a shower or whatever the day service is going to be,” said Howard. “They were all about the day services not being in that building because they were fearful. So at the end of the meeting, we came to the conclusion okay, we won’t do the services here. We’ll just do the overnight program.” 

The  Salvation Army  is the only organization officially offering overnight services in Glynn County.  

The women hoped that a vote by the county commissioners on June 18 would be a formality.

They were mistaken.

That evening, Bo Clark, Commissioner, At Large Post 1, was the first to voice his concerns about approving the MPC decision. 

He asked Howard and Gamble if they owned the property for which they were seeking the permit. He also wanted to know if the state had inspected the property. They responded no, and told him that inspections were not required. 

Discussion then moved to safety concerns — and controversy over how many times neighbors had contacted 911 or the police about occurrences at Saved by Grace’s previous location. 

Suspicion and fear among Brunswick business owners and shoppers led to controversy about the day shelter in town known as The Well, which city commissioners have tried to close down. The organization is in litigation with Brunswick to protect its right to serve people without homes. 

What does the data say? 

Opposition against Saved by Grace at the county commissioner’s meeting stemmed from safety concerns that came from perceptions that the homeless population is unsafe. 

The Current  found that between April 22, 2020 and March 2024, police were called to the previous location — 186 Cornerstone Drive — 49 times. 

That is an average of less than one call (0.24) per week over the nearly four-year period, before the organization moved from that location.

The most prevalent category of the calls was “citizen assist” and “problem person” at 10 calls each. “Citizen assist” generally refers to a non-emergency service requested by and provided to a citizen. A problem person is someone who disturbs the peace of a location.

Other reasons for calling included six follow-up calls, five calls about a suspicious person, two calls about accidental deaths, one call about an assault and a call about child abuse. 

Clark, the commissioner, didn’t appear to have accurate police data at the June 18 meeting. While he praised Saved by Grace for their work, he said he was not in favor of the change of permit because of the widespread perception of safety concerns.

“What y’all do is fantastic, but myself and the board here, we got to take into consideration the citizens. Whether y’all had 54 calls, 43 calls, or 105 calls for service from the police department, we’re strapped as a police department here, like most folks, and probably some medical was called,” said Clark at the meeting.“That’s concerning to me and to the folks that I’m hearing from, and it’s kind of concerning that no state inspections are required.”

Clark also pointed out limitations that the proposed Blythe Island address would pose. 

“The only way I’ll support anything like this is if it does not impact neighborhoods, and that’s, that’s the biggest concern I have,” said Clark. 

District 5 Commissioner Allen Booker spoke out in favor of the MPC zoning change. He said a shelter run by Saved by Grace would be safer for their clients and the community, then leaving men living on the streets. 

“For me, having these men in a structured environment versus underneath the overpass or in some of those camps makes us safer, because when they’re under the overpass in those camps, it doesn’t stop them from coming into any neighborhood,” said Booker. 

What’s next? 

The Board of Commissioners has not specified a date for voting on the special use permit. Subsequently, the site’s construction has been put on hold.

Construction is estimated to take at least six to nine months. Saved by Grace has secured over $2 million in funding from private donors.

“We have individual foundations that are paying – one is paying for the acquisition of the building, one is paying for the construction of the renovation, done deal, it will be debt free,” said Howard. 

Saved by Grace has committed to constructing a privacy fence around the perimeter of the proposed site. The back will include an eight-foot-tall fence in the back surrounded by six-foot-tall fences. The entrance will have a motorized gate with a keypad entry and call box. 

“We have all these people that want to see the issue resolved. But they don’t want to help the problem get solved. We have a proven track record. And it’s proven. You can look at our Facebook page, you can look at our website, you can ask anybody in Glynn County for the most part,” said Howard. “We have a proven track record with accountability-based recovery, all those things. We are 100%, zero tolerance, all those things. But they don’t want to approve for us to be rezoned.”

This story comes to   GPB   through a reporting partnership with  The Current .

Secondary Content

About the author.

Jabari Gibbs

Jabari Gibbs, from Atlanta, Georgia, is The Current's full-time accountability reporter based in Glynn County. He is a Report For America corps member and a graduate of Georgia Southern University with a degree in communications. While at Georgia Southern, he was the Editor-in-Chief for The George-Anne Inkwell.

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DISSERTATION REPORT ON SAFETY MANAGEMENT IN CONSTRUCTION

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One of the noted denouements of stress is the causation of accidents, dangerous occurrences and near misses. In construction, stress has been noted to be on the rise due to several antecedents such as; ambitious deadlines, workload, role conflict, poor communication, and dangerous working environments. This study therefore sought to empirically establish the contribution of organizational stressors, job- related stressors and work environment stressors to the occurrence of construction site accidents, dangerous occurrences and near misses. Data for the study was obtained from a questionnaire survey of 204 construction site workers in Ghana. Structural Equation Modelling was the foremost technique employed in analysing data from the survey. Data on construction related stressors showed ambitious deadlines, low salary and working in dangerous environment to be the stressors causing the most stress on construction workers in Ghana. The overall contribution of stressors to accident occurrence, dangerous occurrences and near misses achieved was 0.968 (96.8%) which denotes a very high contribution. The study provides a valuable insight into the failings of construction site safety measures. It empirically points to the soft side of the problem and points to the need for greater collaboration between health and safety officers and project managers.

patrick koomson

The construction work site is often a disordered place with an incredibly high amount of actions taking place, frequent accidents and health related problems. The main goal of this paper is to find out the problems leading to accidents on construction site in Agona West Municipal. Two sets of survey questionnaire were administered to thirty (30) respondents, four (4) for contractors and administrators and twenty-six (26) for tradesmen and unskilled labour because tradesmen and unskilled labourers are always on site and may have a fair idea about construction site accidents. Simple random sampling technique was used to select the thirty (30) out of a total population of sixty (60). The study found out that, the most used Personal Protective Equipment's (PPE's) are helmets and safety boots. Unsafe behaviour of workers was also found to be the predominant cause of accident on site. The major types of accidents on site were site falls and scaffold accidents. The study concluded that, the issue of safety is not practiced as a culture on these sites.

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