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Construction fatalities continue despite industry improvements

The construction industry’s safety efforts have grown in sophistication. Cutting-edge technology, improved safety equipment, and more in-depth training have provided a framework to prevent disaster on construction sites. While those efforts have increased protections of worker well-being, injuries and deaths continue at an alarming rate.

Despite all of these advances, the construction industry continues to face high rates of fatal accidents among its workforce.

The Fatal Four

The Fatal Four construction accidents compose a quartet of catastrophe that make up more than 60 percent of job-related deaths:

  • Falls
  • Electrocutions
  • Struck by equipment
  • Caught-in-between

Specific statistics are equally alarming:

  • Construction work accounts for the fourth-highest death rate out of all industries or nearly ten percent of that particular workforce.
  • Construction workers account for 20 percent of worker deaths in the United States
  • In 2019, 1,061 construction workers died on the job
  • More than half of construction workers who died were killed by objects falling off a crane
  • One-third of construction fatalities are the result of falls

The Costs Require a Greater Commitment

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fines can range from approximately $13,000 to more than $136,000 for safety violations. The largest fine involving a fatal fall exceeded $1.7 million.

Perhaps the most troubling statistics involve the financing of safety programs. OSHA reports that construction companies can save up to $6 for every $1 invested in a safety program. Even more alarming is the disparity between monies going for safety training (2.6 percent) versus job site injury costs (3.6 percent).

With a relatively new year comes new opportunities for construction companies when it comes to the safety of their workers. Committing more financial and other resources can literally be the difference between life and death for these hard-working professionals.