Safety and health newsletter for the Oregon construction industry

March 20, 2013


A look at construction fatalities in 2012

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Earlier this month, the Department of Consumer and Business Services reported that 30 workers covered by the Oregon workers' compensation system died on the job in 2012.

Among those 30 workers, five were employed in the construction industry. Notice, in the details below, that one of the five workers actually died in 2011 from an injury that happened in 1968. This isn't an error; it illustrates the insidious nature of some health-related diseases and a characteristic of the workers compensation system.

Symptoms of asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma, may not appear until years after the exposure has occurred. In the case reported below, the disease took 43 years to claim its victim. The fatality, which occurred in 2011, is included in the 2012 report because workers' compensation claims are counted in the year they are accepted, not the date of the death or the injury.

Falls from ladders claimed two victims in 2012. In one case, the worker fell backward while standing on a four-foot ladder and struck his head on a fireplace during the fall.

Vehicles were causes of the remaining two fatalities. A heavy-equipment operator died when his road roller overturned and a road worker died when he was struck by a passenger car.

Compensable fatalities for construction (NAICS 23) in Oregon

Date of injury: 9/1/1968
Date of death: 2/21/2011
Occupation: Insulator helper
Injury age: 21
Injury event: Exposure to toxic substances
Description: Insulation worker was exposed to asbestos at work and died from mesothelioma.

Date of injury: 10/30/2012
Date of death: 11/2/2012
Occupation: Carpenter
Injury age: 59
Injury event: Fall
Description: Carpenter fell from a four-foot ladder while performing drywall ceiling work and died from fatal blunt force trauma to the head.

Date of injury: 1/17/2012
Date of death: 2/2/2012
Occupation: Electrician
Injury age: 59
Injury event: Fall
Description: Electrician was climbing off the roof of a school onto a 10-foot ladder. As he stepped onto the ladder, it kicked out from under him causing him to fall to the ground.

Date of injury: 9/12/2012
Date of death: 9/12/2012
Occupation: Heavy equipment operator
Injury age: 73
Injury event: Industrial vehicle accident
Description: Heavy equipment operator drove a road roller up a hill, lost control, and the roller overturned causing fatal traumatic injuries to the head and chest.

Date of injury: 7/10/2012
Date of death: 7/10/2012
Occupation: Road worker
Injury age: 47
Injury event: Pedestrian accident
Description: Road worker was fatally struck by a car in the roadway, and he died from multiple blunt force traumas to the body.

Note: This information is preliminary until the data is finalized in mid-April. Source: Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services - IMD 2013


Reprinting, excerpting, or plagiarizing any part of this publication is fine with us!

But remember: the information in this newsletter is intended to highlight safe work practices, but it does not replace Oregon OSHA workplace safety and health rules.

For information about Oregon OSHA services and answers to technical questions, call (503) 378-3272 or toll-free within Oregon, (800) 922-2689.