According to the latest statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor, in 2007, the construction industry accounted for 1,178 fatal work injuries, the most of any industry sector.
In a study that examined construction site accidents between 1992 and 2005, falls were the leading cause of death in construction, accounting for about one-third of all work-related deaths, followed by transportation incidents and contact with objects (which includes vehicles and mobile heavy equipment accidents). Transportation injuries caused more than one-fourth of all deaths.
Overall, from 1992-2005 the highest ranking causes of work-related deaths were falls to a lower level, contact with electric current, highway incidents, and being struck by an object. Being struck by an object (including equipment) also was the leading cause of non-fatal injuries that resulted in days away from work.
Other construction industry statistics included in the study:
- Fatalities among workers in construction of buildings rose 11 percent, with most of the increase in non-residential construction industries.
- Construction laborers accounted for the highest number of fatal work injuries among construction and extraction occupations, accounting for 877 fatal work injuries.
- Construction workers also experienced 135,350 injuries and illnesses and had an incident rate of 190 per 100,000 workers.
- Within construction, contact with objects and equipment resulted in 35 percent of the injuries and illnesses. Specialty trade contractors reported the highest injury rate (5.6 per 100 full-time workers) among the three 3-digit NAICS industries within construction.
Deaths involving vehicles and heavy equipment in construction
Vehicles and mobile heavy equipment were involved in 469 deaths (37.7 percent) out of a total of 1,243 construction deaths in 2005. The cause of death in these incidents may have been listed as “vehicle,” or by other categories including “struck by,” “caught in/between,” and “falls,” such as a worker being caught between parts of a dump truck or falling from a piece of mobile heavy equipment.
The report notes that of the 469 vehicle- and mobile heavy equipment-related deaths in 2005, 279 occurred on construction sites (59 percent), which included traffic work zones. During that same period, 177 deaths occurred on streets and highways, accounting for 38 percent of the total vehicle-related construction deaths. These included 162 deaths of drivers and passengers, plus 15 deaths of workers who were struck by vehicles on highways.
Of the deaths occurring on construction sites, 42 percent were attributed to mobile heavy equipment, such as bulldozers and backhoes. An additional 11 percent were attributed to forklifts and 8 percent to aerial lifts. The other deaths involved heavy trucks and road vehicles like cars and pickup trucks.
Among the driver and passenger occupant deaths reported, 7 percent were attributed to mobile heavy equipment, 34 percent to heavy trucks, and 56 percent to other road vehicles.
If you have been seriously injured, or a loved one has been killed as a result of an unsafe work environment or equipment on a construction site or job, you may be entitled to compensation. For a free, no-cost, no-obligation evaluation of your claim, contact us by filling out the brief questionnaire.
- National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2007, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
- The Construction Chart Book: The U.S. Construction Industry and its Workers; published December 2007 by The Center for Construction Research & Training
- 2005 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI)
- 2005 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII)