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Construction Fatalities Jumped Five Percent in 2012, First Increase Since 2006

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The new Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) shows that construction workplace fatalities rose by five percent in 2012, the first increase since 2006. The numbers in the construction industry go against the grain as overall workplace fatalities dropped by 6.6 percent last year.  

In the recent past, numbers have been positive for the construction industry and more workers have been finding their way back to work after the recession.  Yet, the reality of the dangers of the job shine through in the CFOI:

From the Engineering News-Record:

According to the latest BLS annual report on fatal occupational injuries, released on Aug. 22, there were 775 workplace deaths in the private construction industry last year, compared with 738 in 2011.

The 2012 figures are preliminary; BLS will release updated, final data in April.

The industry’s 2012 fatality rate also went up, to 9.5 per 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers, from 9.1 the year before.

The fatality rate adjusts for the post-recession falloff in construction employment as well as the modest recent upturn.

Until the 2012 increase, construction deaths had shown annual declines since 2006, when the total stood at 1,239.

OSHA has a new updated slip and fall prevention program, but those types of injuries were the leading cause of fatalities last year, according to

The most frequent cause of construction-related fatalities were worksite falls, slips and trips (280), followed by transportation incidents (216), traumatic contact with on-site objects or equipment (135), and exposure to harmful substances or environments (102).

Nearly 59% of construction workers killed in 2012 were employed by specialty trade contractors.

The preliminary numbers will allow the industry to focus on where improvements can be made concerning worker safety, says Associated General Contractors of America spokesman Brian Turmail:

“I think all of us want to spend some time going through the numbers and figuring out how we can focus our safety training and how our member firms can focus their safety efforts on really addressing where the data tell us we’ve got problems.”

Turmail says, “One of the things that we have been noticing is that the construction spending rates have been going up faster than employment numbers, in terms of percentage, so perhaps the [fatality] rate is up because you’ve got a comparable number of workers doing more work than they were a year ago.”

He adds, “That being said, I don’t think any of us in the construction world will be happy until we see a rate that’s zero and a number that’s zero.”


One Comment on “Construction Fatalities Jumped Five Percent in 2012, First Increase Since 2006”

  1. This report is far too broad with its claims. The Labor Department should clarify that these figures are clearly from mostly NON-UNION (ACGA) contractors! Over the past 20 years, ALL major Building Trades Unions (UBC, IBEW, UA, LiUNA, etc.) have invoked extensive training programs with very strict safety protocols. Currently, all apprentices AND journeymen/women are required to be OSHA certified, in one form or another, before being approved to even ENTER, let alone work on ANY jobsite. This gross refusal to adhere to modern safety practices, which is commonplace to NON-UNION contractors, is a cancer on the industry. The cost of which is eventually paid for by the American taxpayer! It’s high time that state and local governments start acknowledging this charade, and that the Feds begin a more progressive crack-down on these charlatans and their arrogant, selfish & greedy cost cutting scams!

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