The number of construction worker fatalities on the job is at a high level in states such as Illinois and Indiana. The number of construction worker fatalities nationwide has risen sharply. The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries took data from 2011 to 2019, which saw 1,102 construction worker fatalities in 2019. That year saw a 41.1% increase in construction fatalities over 2011.
The increase of construction worker fatalities
Hispanic workers had more fatal construction accidents than the group’s rise in employment over the nine years. Hispanic workers saw an increase of 89.8% more construction fatalities over the nine years but only a 55% rise in employment. Workers between 45 and 64 had 241 fatalities between 2016 and 2019. Construction workers 65 and older had the most fatalities during the four years. Workers 65 and older had 22 deaths for every 100,000 full-time employees, and workers 45 to 64 had 9.6 deaths.
Four most common construction deaths
OSHA’s safety initiative lists fall, struck-by, caught between and electrocution hazards as the Construction Focus Four. In 2019, 64.3% of all fatalities or 709 deaths were one of those four accidents. Fatal falls to a lower level on a construction site rose to 401 in 2019. Falls were 36.4% of fatal construction accidents in 2019, which rose 25% from 2018. Struck-by fatalities went up 7.6% during the study, but workers struck by transport vehicles rose 21.2%. About 70% of all caught between fatalities were workers crushed by collapsing materials.
Fatal construction accidents involving workers falling from scaffolds, roofs and ladders rose during the study. In 2019, 146 workers fell from the roof of a worksite, which was a 28.1% increase from 2018. Employers should proactively address fall hazards to protect their employees. Personal fall systems, guardrail systems and safety net systems are options to prevent fatal falls.