Study Shows OSHA Reports Are Useful

Researchers found that data on fatal injuries in the construction industry involving cranes can be used to prevent accidents.

A study about fatal injuries in the United States construction industry involving cranes published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine concluded that OSHA reports can be beneficial.

After analyzing OSHA statistics on death and injury in the construction industry, researchers from the University of Utah School of Medicine, found that OSHA reports "seem to represent a useful means for identifying causes of fatal injury related to the use of cranes in construction."

Researchers conducted the study because they believed that there was little published information concerning the source of injuries in the construction industry involving cranes, other than for electrical injury from power line contact.

The study found that for the 11 year period of 1984 to 1994, OSHA investigated 502 deaths in 479 incidents involving cranes in the construction industry.

Electrocution was the largest category, with 198 deaths reported. Other major categories were assembly and dismantling (58 deaths), boom buckling (41 deaths) and rigging failure (36 deaths).

A surprising finding of the study was that assembly and dismantling of cranes was the second leading cause of fatal injury, causing 58 deaths.

The researchers discovered that only 34 percent of the construction firms employing the fatally injured workers had ever been inspected by OSHA. Additionally, OSHA cited the employer for safety violations in 436 deaths.

As a result, the study concluded that additional worker training, increased OSHA inspections, and crane inspection programs could prevent many crane-related deaths.

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