Construction Fatalities Increased, Injury Rate Dropped in 2014

Originally published by: Builder OnlineOctober 6, 2015

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The construction sector has seen more fatal occupational injuries, but a lower fatal injury rate in 2014, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics’ recent release of the National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.

A total of 874 fatal occupational injuries in the construction industry were reported last year, up 5.6% from the revised outcome in 2013. Last year also marks the third year in a row that fatal injuries have climbed since the 2011 low of 738. However, construction’s preliminary rate of fatal work injury was 9.5% per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers in 2014, down 0.2% from the prior year--an indication that a larger number of full-time workers have been added to the sector.

In all, 349 construction workers, or 39.9% of the total fatalities, lost their lives due to "falls, slips, or trips." Transportation incidents, the second biggest killer, took 231 lives. About 13.7%, or 120 workers, were fatally injured due to exposure to harmful substances or environments. Other major causes of fatal injuries include contact with objects and equipment (13.0%), violence, other injuries by persons or animals (5.1%), and fires and explosions (1.7%).

In addition to full-time employees, 164 fatally-injured contracted workers were reported in the private construction industry, 20.6% of all contracted workers in the past year, according to the Bureau.      

This chart illustrates how fatal construction work injuries have changed in the past 10 years:

The rate of fatal work injuries has consecutively going down since 2012, indicating that builders have been increasing efforts to tackle construction safety issues. 

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