How common is serious injury or death in the construction industry? How are the fatality rates changing over time? The fact is that those pretty buildings on main street pose deadly hazards to the men and women who help them rise from the soil. Construction workers are among the most exposed individuals in the American workforce. Each year, construction related industries routinely make their way to the top of the list of deadliest jobs in America.
Preliminary data from 2018 shows that 5,250 fatal work injuries occurred in the United States last year; it's a rough increase of more than 100 deaths. When the data becomes clearer, it is expected that construction-related industries will show a similar increase in the number of fatalities and serious injury recorded.
Construction Deaths at a Glance
In 2017, 5,147 American workers died on the job, which represents a fatality rate of 3.5 per 100,000 full-time workers. Of the 4,674 workplace fatalities that occurred in the private sector, 971 were construction workers; or, nearly one in every five workplace deaths in the United States. Overall, construction is the fourth most dangerous job in America after agriculture, fishing, forestry, and hunting.
The “fatal four” primary causes of serious injury and workplace deaths in construction continue to include strikes by objects (8.2%), falls from heights (39.2%), electrocution (7.3%), and “caught-in-between” accidents (5.1%). Eliminating these four causes of construction worker deaths would cut the fatality rate within the industry by more than 50%. Other causes of construction worker deaths include motor vehicle accidents, workplace violence, and contact with machinery.
The Deadliest Construction Jobs 2014 to 2015
Roofers are at the most significant risk of injury or death. In 2015, roofers represented 39.7% of construction fatalities, which was a decrease of 6.4% from 2014. Iron and steel workers accounted for 29.8% of construction-related fatalities in 2015, which was an increase of 1.5% over the previous year. Supervisors accounted for 16.1% of deaths, which was a decrease from 17.4% in 2014. General laborers accounted for 15.6%, which was a 2.3% increase, and electricians accounted for 10.7%, which was a .7% increase.
Painters accounted for 7.6%, which was a decrease of 1.6% from 2014. One of the most significant increases occurred for engineers and equipment operators whose fatality rate shot up from 8% in 2014 to 11.3% in 2015. Similarly, plumber fatality rates went from 5.6% in 2014 to 8% in 2015, and carpenters went from 4.8% to 6.7% in 2015.
Contact Brad Pistotnik Law at 1-800-241-BRAD or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400. We are happy to schedule a free consultation to discuss your construction-related injuries. We represent roofers, plumbers, electricians, and other construction professionals pursuing personal injury and workers' compensation claims in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, or Texas. We are available on holidays, after hours, and on weekends to answer your questions. You can call Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can reach Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237.