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Fatal Fall Accidents in Small Building Construction Projects

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Construction Safety and Risk Management

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Page Count


Page Numbers

24.601.1 - 24.601.10



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Paper Authors

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Yilmaz Hatipkarasulu University of Texas at San Antonio Orcid 16x16

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Harrison Pierce Linbeck Group, LLC


Suat Gunhan University of Texas at San Antonio

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Dr. Gunhan received his Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the Department of Construction Science at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

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Rui Liu The University of Texas at San Antonio

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Fatal Fall Accidents in Small Building Construction ProjectsConstruction is one of the largest and most dangerous industries in the United States. It accountsfor over 4.5% of the gross domestic product, 8% of the active workforce, and over 21.7% of theoccupational fatalities annually. Falls are the major cause of fatal construction accidents and,according to the Census of Occupational Fatalities and Injuries, majority of the fatal fallaccidents happen in projects that are reported to cost under $50,000. The small constructionprojects (project cost under $50,000) have unique circumstances because of the type of thecontractors and short project durations. These contactors typically have limited resources tocomplete their work and the opportunities for providing comprehensive training for the workersare very limited. Comprehensive understanding of the root-causes, circumstances, andenvironment factors of these accidents is critical in developing preventative measures, standards,and targeted training programs. This paper provides a project level analysis of the fatal fallaccidents in small building projects using Occupational Safety and Health Administration’saccident reports between 1997 and 2007. The analysis includes categorization of accidents basedon project size, type, and accident circumstances for each contactor type. The analysis identifieshigh risk activities for fall fatalities under different circumstances. This detailed project levelinformation provides a valuable educational tool for construction programs as well as a guide tostrategically target high risk areas through prevention, enforcement, and training.

Hatipkarasulu, Y., & Pierce, H., & Gunhan, S., & Liu, R. (2014, June), Fatal Fall Accidents in Small Building Construction Projects Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20492

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