According to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), fatal work injuries in construction and extraction occupations rose for the second year in a row, increasing by 5 percent from 2011.
In fact, fatal injuries among construction trades workers rose in 2012 to 577 after five years of decline. This marked an 8 percent increase over the series low of 533 in 2011, but a 41 percent drop from the high of 977 reported in 2006. Fatal work injuries to construction laborers, the subgroup in this category with the highest number of fatalities, increased 10 percent to 210 in 2012, following a series low of 191 in 2011. Fatal injuries to roofers, another subgroup within construction trades workers, rose to 70 in 2012, a 17 percent rise from 2011 marking the highest count in 5 years.
In general, a preliminary total of 4,383 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2012, down from a revised count of 4,693 fatal work injuries in 2011, according to results from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) conducted by the BLS. The 2012 total represents the second lowest preliminary total since CFOI was first conducted in 1992. The rate of fatal work injury for U.S. workers in 2012 was 3.2 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, down from a rate of 3.5 per 100,000 in 2011.
Falls are 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).
Fatal falls, slips, or trips took the lives of 668 workers in 2012, down slightly from 2011. Falls to a lower level accounted for 544 or about 81 percent of those fatalities.
While the total number of fatal work injuries involving contact with objects and equipment in 2012 remained about the same as in 2011, the number of workers fatally injured after being struck by objects or equipment increased by 7 percent (to 509 fatal work injuries in 2012 from 476 in 2011). This total includes 233 workers struck by falling objects or equipment and 199 struck by powered vehicles or mobile equipment not in normal operation.
There were 142 multiple-fatality incidents in 2012 (incidents in which more than one worker was killed) resulting in 341 worker deaths.
Transportation incidents accounted for more than twp out of every five fatal work injuries in 2012. Of the 1,789 transportation-related fatal injuries, about 58 percent (1,044 cases) were roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles. Non-roadway incidents, such as a tractor overturn in a farm field, accounted for another 13 percent of the transportation-related fatal injuries. About 16 percent of fatal transportation incidents in 2012 involved pedestrians who were struck by vehicles. Of the 283 fatal work injuries involving pedestrians struck by vehicles, 65 occurred in work zones.
For more detailed information on fatal injuries by incident, see the 2012 tables at www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm.
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