You often must work in or around elevators and their shafts as part of your construction job. Sometimes these shafts descend hundreds of feet down from where you perform your jobs, especially if you work construction in the Greater NYC area. You consequently face substantial risk of sustaining a catastrophic, even life-ending, injury should you accidentally fall into one.

Unfortunately, elevator-related accidents and their resulting injuries pose a continuing risk for construction workers. In fact, Construction Dive reports that 1,800 of your cohorts nationwide became the victim of a job site elevator accident between 2003 and 2016. Construction worker elevator-related deaths doubled during that same time period.

Particularly risky jobs

Your construction job puts you at particular risk for sustaining an elevator-related injury if you work as one of the following:

  • Elevator installer
  • Elevator system builder or dismantler
  • Elevator repair or maintenance person
  • Heavy equipment operator anywhere near an elevator

Elevator accident causes

Falls cause more elevator-related injuries and deaths for construction workers than all other causes combined. Specifically, 53% of the deaths result from falls, with 48% of the victims falling more than 30 feet down the elevator shaft.

Other elevator accident causes include the following:

  • The elevator’s mechanism catches your clothing, foot, hand, etc.
  • The elevator’s doors squeeze your foot, leg or torso.
  • A tool or other object strikes you as it falls down the shaft.
  • The elevator electrically malfunctions and electrocutes you.

Given the life-threatening injuries you likely will sustain in an elevator accident, your wisest strategy when working on, in or near one and its shaft consists of always wearing the protective equipment your employer provides you and remaining constantly vigilant for potential elevator and shaft problems.