As a construction worker, you face considerable risk of injury and/or death when your job requires you to work near, in or around an elevator.
Construction Dive reports that between 2003 and 2016, 1,800 construction workers sustained an on-the-job elevator-related injury. During that same period, elevator-related deaths doubled from 14 to 28, with 2015 being a particularly bad year in which 37 construction workers lost their lives in an elevator accident.
Those most at risk
Perhaps not surprisingly, you face the greatest risk of sustaining an elevator injury if you work includes of the following:
- Building or dismantling elevator systems
- Repairing and/or maintaining elevators
- Installing elevators
- Operating heavy equipment near elevators
What is surprising, however, is that your risk of both injury and death increases if you are younger than 35. Construction workers over the age of 55 suffer the fewest number of elevator-related injuries and deaths.
Falls represent the number one cause of elevator-related construction worker injuries and deaths. In fact, falls cause 53% of elevator-related deaths, with nearly 48% of those victims falling from heights exceeding 30 feet.
Other causes include the following:
- Becoming caught in the elevator’s mechanisms
- Getting squeezed by the elevator’s doors
- Getting hit by objects falling down the elevator’s shaft
- Suffering electrocution due to an electrical malfunction in the elevator
Both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and The Center for Construction Research and Training recommend that construction companies provide their workers with fall protection equipment and install fall arrest systems around elevator shafts. In addition, they recommend that your employer designate a safety monitor to ensure not only that proper safeguards exist, but also that you and your coworkers wear your safety equipment at all times, but especially working around elevators.