CPWR Report Highlights Trends in Fatalities in the Construction Industry

Construction is generally acknowledged as a high hazard industry. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) show that 849 construction workers were killed on the job in 2012 — the highest number of fatalities in any industry, accounting for 18.3% of all work-related fatalities in the U.S. Although construction employment remained low in 2012, construction fatalities increased for the first time since 2006.

The CPWR Data Center, which serves as the research arm of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD), recently completed a report on trends in fatalities among construction workers for the years 2011 through 2012.  Key findings of the report include:

  • There were 199 fatalities in residential construction in 2012, a 37.2% increase compared to just 3% in non-residential construction.
  • The increase in the number of fatalities among older construction workers aged 45 and above was 15.2% compared to 1.9% among their younger counterparts.
  • Among self-employed construction workers, the number of fatalities increased 27.8%, while the increase among wage-and-salary workers was 4.4%.
  • In 2012, 222 Hispanic construction workers died on the job — a 12.7% increase from 2011, compared to an 8.7% increase for the overall construction industry.
  • Falls continued to be the leading cause of death in construction, with an increase of 9.3% in fall fatalities from 269 to 294.

This study on construction fatalities is part of CPWR’s ongoing surveillance activities on current and changing workplace practices on jobsites that can affect the safety and health of construction workers. CPWR has focused on construction safety and health research since 1990.  See CPWR Data Brief for the complete report.

CPWR, in conjunction with NIOSH, has also funded the development of a website that catalogs fall protection equipment for residential construction. See Fall Protection Resource for New Home Construction and look for more information in the November issue of the OSHA Training Center Update.

About the OSHA Training Center

The OSHA Training Center at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District offers high quality Occupational Safety & Health Administration standards-based training for construction, maritime and general industry at its Center in Dublin, California, as well as locations throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and Guam. Programs offered include OSHA safety standards, Outreach Trainer courses, Cal/OSHA standards curriculum, environmental courses and customized on-site safety training. Upcoming courses include OTC 301 – Scaffolding Safety Standards and OSHA 510 – OSHA Standards for the Construction Industry. For more information, including a complete course schedule, visit the OSHA Training Center website or call (866) 936-OSHA (6742).

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