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Aug
2011
31

Contractors Try to Take Credit for Construction Death Decrease When It’s Just a Function of Less Work

Late last week, after new BLS workplace death figures were released, the Las Vegas Review-Journal ran a story quoting Associated General Contractors Association (AGCA) leaders who said their increased safety efforts had contributed to a decline in construction deaths. The AGCA is not exactly a bastion of worker safety concerns and the decrease in construction deaths is almost unanimously credited to less work rather than more safety. The LVR-J article more than ticked off one reader who penned the following letter-to-the-editor:

To the editor:

In response to your Friday article, “Analysis shows construction deaths slowing in U.S.”:

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGCA) is citing a decrease in the raw number of construction deaths as evidence that the industry’s safety record is improving. In addition, the group suggests that AGCA somehow had something to do with the drop in numbers.

The fact is construction deaths are down because construction employment is down — especially here in Southern Nevada. Fewer jobs mean fewer workers are at risk of serious injury and death on the job.

The government data cited by AGCA was preliminary and did not offer an injury rate specific to the construction industry.

The AGCA taking credit for fewer worker deaths is not just shameless, it is repugnant. The AGCA helped lead the opposition to the Miner Safety and Health Act of 2010, the workplace safety legislation that came forward after 29 miners lost their lives at the Upper Big Branch mine in 2010. This bill would have increased protections for workers who complain about workplace safety and increased penalties against employers who willfully violate safety regulations — improvements that may have saved lives at CityCenter.

AGCA also opposed the passage of several Nevada Assembly bills that would have given more authority to Nevada OSHA to hold companies accountable for putting workers’ lives at risk. If AGCA was truly about safety and better training for workers, the organization would be supportive of such measures to ensure worker safety on the job.

Every week, I post information online about work-related deaths. I do not see a great decrease in workers who are struck by equipment, dying in trench collapses, falling from heights, being caught between objects or electrocuted. Many of these deaths could have been prevented with simple precautions.

AGCA’s comments are an insult to the memories of those who died at CityCenter and other construction sites across the country.

Debi Koehler-Fergen
Las Vegas

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2 Comments on “Contractors Try to Take Credit for Construction Death Decrease When It’s Just a Function of Less Work”

  1. I have to side with the author on this one. Neither the AGC, nor OSHA, nor the construction industry - none can take the “credit” for the decline. People do not die at work if you are not working!

  2. [...] other construction sites across the country. Debi Koehler-Fergen … Originally posted here: Contractors Try to Take Credit for Construction … - We Party Patriots Posted in Uncategorized Tags: building house « Sewage Dump Demands More Chlorine In Water [...]

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