Elevator and Escalator Data Study
Construction researcher releases detailed report on death and injuries in the U.S.
CPWR — The Center for Construction Research and Training has released Deaths and Injuries Involving Elevators or Escalators in Construction and the General Population by Dr. Xiuwen Sue Dong, Dr. Xuanwen Wang and Rebecca Katz. The free study, published in December 2018, displays statistics dating back to 2003 and illustrates them in 24 graphics that elucidate trends. The following excerpt is an overview from the 26-page report. It can be downloaded in full at bit.ly/2C1oqTy. . . . Editor
This quarterly data report provides updated statistics on elevator- and escalator-related fatal and nonfatal injuries using the most recent data and information on injury prevention from multiple sources. Fatality data are from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, and nonfatal injury data are from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. Both datasets were collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. To calculate injury rates, denominators were obtained from the Current Population Survey. The number of OSHA inspections and corresponding penalties were also estimated. Additionally, the number of elevator- (product code 1889) or escalator- (product code 1890) related injuries (including non-work-related) treated at hospitals in the general population from 2007 to 2017 was calculated using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, maintained by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Selected OSHA safety and health regulations and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program recommendations regarding how to prevent elevator-related injuries and fatalities are summarized in Table 1.
Discussion and Conclusion
The construction industry experiences more elevator-related fatal and nonfatal injuries than any other major industry sector. From 2011 to 2016, elevator-related incidents caused 145 deaths and 2,410 severe injuries among construction workers. Although nonfatal injuries involving elevators declined over time, both the number and rate of such fatal injuries increased in recent years. More than one-third of elevator-related fatalities occurred while the victim was performing assembling or dismantling tasks, and most elevator-related fatalities in construction were due to falls to a lower level. Elevator installers and repairers had the highest risk of fatal injuries among all construction occupations.
Younger construction workers had a higher risk of both fatal and nonfatal injuries involving elevators than their older counterparts. While Hispanic workers had a higher risk of elevator-related fatal injuries, they were less likely to experience nonfatal injuries related to elevators. Moreover, approximately 25,000 people in the general public were treated at hospitals due to elevator- or escalator-related injuries in 2017, and the number jumped by 30% in the last decade.
To ensure the safe operation of elevators and the protection of employees, OSHA requires employers to ensure that employees who install and maintain elevators are adequately trained and knowledgeable about proper installation, wiring and maintenance procedures. Organizations such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers have set standards for the construction and maintenance of elevators and escalators and their safe operation. In addition, NIOSH FACE reports have provided specific recommendations on how to prevent elevator-related injuries based on case evaluations (Table 2). Given that most elevator-related fatalities are caused by falls to a lower level, employers should ensure that workers who perform tasks involving elevators or escalators are protected from falls when the potential for falls exist. Moreover, the increased number of elevator- or escalator-related injuries among the general population suggests that elevator or escalator safety should be enhanced not only for workers, but also for the general public.