Forbes has listed Nashville as one of the fastest growing cities for 2015. CNNMoney has listed Nashville as one of the top 10 business hub cities. Nashville surrounding counties are growing just as fast as the city, with reports saying many are moving to be closer to Nashville. The New York Times reported on how the $2 billion spent on 100 construction plans are going to reshape the Nashville skyline.
While the growth in population and the construction has done wonders to change the city, most people do not consider the people who are largely responsible for changing it.
THE NUMBER OF CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENTS ARE DRASTICALLY INCREASING
There are a total of 7.45 million construction workers in the United States. While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration does ensure that employers are complying with their safety standards and training procedures, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics still shows that the number of construction workers who have suffered from fatal injuries is climbing. In addition, the number of workers’ compensation injury claims totaled 1 million in 2014, and is expected to increase for 2015. These injuries include temporary conditions (such as sprains and broken bones) in addition to more permanent catastrophic injuries, including loss of limbs or paralysis. Construction workers have suffered from the following injuries:
- Falls off of ladders and scaffolding
- Exposure to toxic fumes and dust
- Hit with falling equipment
- Building collapses
- Injury due to mechanical malfunctions
Experts say this dramatic increase is due to the construction boom happening in cities across the nation, including (you guessed it) Nashville. Although legally, employers are required to provide safety training, safety gear and are charged with maintaining equipment, this is not always the case. Tight deadlines and a lack of oversight encourages companies to skimp on safety training and equipment. According to an article by Truthout, the faster construction companies finish buildings, the more profit they make. That said, many companies take shortcuts.
Worse, there are only 3,000 inspectors employed nationwide charged with examining more than 8 million construction work sites. This averages out to 60 inspectors in each state, give or take. When you consider that number compared to how many work sites we have running in Nashville, not to mention the entirety of Tennessee, you can imagine exactly why the number of construction accidents are on the rise.
NASHVILLE AND TOSHA NEED TO BE MORE DILIGENT ABOUT CONSTRUCTION SITE SAFETY
Nashville’s construction boom and the number of accidents have a direct correlation. The fact of the matter is the number of construction workers who are injured on the job is rising with the number of buildings. The city and Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration (TOSHA) need to increase the number of worksite inspections and make a bigger effort to ensure that companies are complying with safety standards. It’s true this city is growing and developing, but we need to take care of the people who are helping it develop.
The Law Office of Stanley A. Davis is a personal injury firm that fights for construction accident victims in Nashville, Tennessee.
“According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.” 1 Corinthians 3:10-15