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While accidents happen in all job roles, more construction workers are injured or killed on the job than those in other professions. According to the Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America, the number of construction deaths on the job in the construction industry increased in 2016 based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data. There were 5,190 fatal on-the-job injuries in the U.S. in 2016, according to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. That figure was a 7 percent increase over 2015. Of those deaths, 970 of them were in the construction industry.
- When the figures were looked at more closely, the most common workplace accident that led to death was transportation accidents, which accounted for 40 percent of the fatalities. More workers were killed in transportation accidents than in any other work-related incident.
- The second most common fatal event was violence that was caused by other people and/or animals.
- Another shocking figure involved overdoses on the job. On-the-job overdoses increased 32 percent from 2015 totals. Fatalities that were tied to overdoses have continued to increase by at least 25 percent per year since 2012.
One of every five workplace death happens in the construction industry. When that is broken down, about 80 construction workers die every month in a workplace accident. When construction accidents were reviewed more closely, the leading cause of death for construction workers is falling. Of the construction workplace fatalities, 379 people died in falls during 2016, which was an increase from 348 in 2015.
While many construction workers interact with tools and heavy equipment on a daily basis, about one-fourth of the laborers killed in the construction industry were killed because of unintentional contact with machinery or equipment, such as cranes, grading machinery, backhoes, front-end loaders, forklifts, and aerial lifts. There were fewer transportation-related deaths in the construction industry, but there were more trench deaths – with the number climbing to 37 in 2016 from the previous year’s 26 deaths.