196864 Death of a Sheet Metal Worker: Dedicated to Art Gyorgydeak

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Robert Taylor, BA , National Labor College, Sheet Metal Workers International Association, Silver Spring, MD
For construction workers, the number one cause of death on the job comes from fatal falls. In 2004, there were 866 falls on construction sites that resulted in death. Art Gyorgydeak was one worker that sadly contributed to this statistic. His death was not only tragic but came at a great cost both emotionally and financially to all those left behind.

The price of this type of accidental death and some possible causes for it are examined. Family members reflect upon the many pieces of their lives they had to put back together, both financially and emotionally. Co-workers consider their struggle with their own mortality and how, in many cases, they found returning to work difficult and even frightening. Employers contemplate not only the loss of a worker, but also the difficulties their business faced when insurance rates rose and OSHA imposed fines. Union officials share their struggle to replace a trained craftsman while also focusing on ways to better protect their members in the future.

Deliberate and systematic research into fatal falls can provide valuable insight, advance safety training methodologies, and save lives. Safety training has been shown to be effective in preventing fatal injuries. Additionally, as new personal protective equipment becomes available, it becomes easier for workers to perform their job safely. Finally, continued legislative initiatives compel both employers and employees in the industry to adhere to stricter safety regulations.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the research work of students at the National Labor College in the field of occupational safety and health Assess ways that activist research can improve the safety and health of workers Discuss strategies for combining academic research and activist work in occupational safety and health

Keywords: Occupational Injury and Death, Occupational Safety

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: This was my senior thesis at the National Labor College. The documented fatality was my work partner.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.