Every day that construction workers are at work, they face the risk of serious injury or death. In 2014, 899 individuals working in the private construction industry died on the job. This was 25 more fatalities and an increase of 9% since 2013. That number continued to rise in 2015, when 937 construction workers were killed on the job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this was the highest fatality rate recorded in the construction industry since 2008.
Overall, the industry has a fatal injury rate of roughly 10.1 per 100,000 workers. This makes construction the fourth deadliest industry in the US behind mining, transportation, and agriculture. In fact, these industries all saw declines in fatality rates while construction saw a tragic increase.
Roofers face some of the greatest risks of injury or death caused by construction accidents. They are at risk of falls from heights, electrocution following contact with overhead power lines, as well as severe sunburns and exposure injuries including frostbite. From 1992-2009, nearly 33% of construction related injuries involved falls from heights, with roofers representing the greatest number of fatalities. In 2013, the roofing industry had a fatality rate of 47.4 per 100,000 workers. By 2015, this number slightly declined to 46.1. By 2015, it declined to 39.7. This is still far higher than the next most deadly profession of structural steel and iron workers.
In 2014, 15 steelworkers died and the industry fatality rate was 28.3 per 100,000 workers. In 2015 it rose up to 29.8 per 100,000 workers. In addition to high falls, steelworkers and structural iron workers can experience crushing injuries, severe burns, lung damage, toxic exposure, and electrocution. There are also potential long-term health consequences that include the development of mesothelioma for those involved in shipbuilding and ship breaking. Supervisors also face considerable risks on the job. In 2014, Supervisor fatality rates were 17.4 per 100,000 which dropped slightly in 2015 to 16.1.
Overall, the most alarming trends show that exterior workers who work on foundation building and those who are responsible for constructing the structural elements are at increased risk of suffering fatal injuries. In 2015, the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries showed that 231 workers in these positions died on the job. This was a 27% increase from 182 who died in 2014.
Falls are the greatest risk on the construction site. Between 1992 and 2010, 6,858 construction workers experienced fatal falls. Most of these were suffered by those involved in specialty trades, including roofing and electrical workers. In 2016, slips, trips, and falls accounted for 40% of construction related fatalities.
The next leading cause of fatalities from construction accidents were transportation injuries at 27% of total fatalities. These include falling off moving equipment, becoming crushed by heavy machinery, truck accidents, etc.
Injuries due to exposure are another constant danger on construction sites. Previous studies have shown that in 2010, as many as 15.7% of fatalities were caused by exposure to extreme weather conditions. By 2015, that number had only decreased to 14% . These fatalities include those caused by heatstroke and frostbite which can both severely hinder an individuals ability to think, maintain footing, utilize safety equipment, or maintain consciousness while working.
Construction workers who have been injured in construction accidents in Arkansas City, Winfield, Kingman, Salina, or any city in Kansas, Illinois, Oklahoma, or Nebraska, should contact Brad Pistotnik Law. Brad will thoroughly review the cause of the accident, determine who is liable, and pursue all the damages the individual is entitled to receive under state statutes.
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