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Missouri Sunset

Construction workers at high risk for elevator accidents

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Posted on March 13, 2019

If you work construction in Missouri, you likely work at many job sites where the elevator has yet to be fully installed and working. If the building in which you are working contains multiple stories, this leaves you at high risk for sustaining an elevator-related injury or even dying in an elevator accident.

Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, America sees over 17,000 elevator accidents per year, and 31 people die in them, approximately half of whom are construction workers. In fact, elevator accidents account for a full one-third of all construction fatalities.

Alarming statistics

The vast majority of construction site elevator accidents result from one of the following:

  • You fall down the elevator shaft – 56 percent
  • You get caught in the elevator’s moving parts – 18 percent
  • One of the elevator’s counterweights hits you – 16 percent

Two hundred sixty-three construction workers died in elevator-related accidents during a recent 17-year period, 110 of whom worked as an elevator installer or repairman, 107 of whom worked a job near the elevator, and 46 of whom worked on the elevator car or shaft itself.

Of the fatalities occurring to construction workers working near elevators, 50 percent resulted from the following activities:

  • Repairing a stuck or stalled elevator
  • Cleaning the shaft of the elevator
  • Retrieving something, such as a tool, that had fallen into the shaft
  • Standing on the platform above the shaft which gave way

The other 50 percent of construction workers fell to their deaths down an unguarded or insufficiently guarded shaft.

Whenever your construction job requires you to work on or near an elevator, be sure to exercise extreme vigilance and caution. Stay as far away as possible from open elevator shafts, whether or not guarded and/or barricaded. And never try to grab a falling tool starting to go down the shaft. Remember, no tool, however expensive, is worth your life.