Construction-related deaths continued a five-year decline in the United States last year, although workplace fatalities changed little overall, according to preliminary figures released Thursday (Sept. 20) by the Labor Department.
|Fatal construction injuries are down nearly 42 percent since 2006, the Labor Department reported.|
A preliminary total of 4,609 fatal work injuries were recorded in the U.S. in 2011, down from a final count of 4,690 in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI).
The preliminary rate of fatal work injury for U.S. workers in 2011 was 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, compared with a final rate of 3.6 per 100,000 for 2010.
The final counts may show no improvement, however. In the past three years, the program’s final toll has added an average of 166 fatalities (about 3 percent of the revised total) to the preliminary figures, BLS said.
Final 2011 data from the program will not be available until Spring 2013.
13 Workers a Day
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis called Thursday’s numbers “a step in the right direction” but said “more needs to be done.”
“On average, 13 workers lose their lives each and every day, and that loss ripples throughout their communities,” Solis said in a prepared statement. “Children, parents, brothers, sisters and neighbors all bear an enormous burden when a loved one dies on the job.
“It’s clear that we must maintain our commitment to ensuring our workplaces are safer and healthier for every American. This is a challenge that must be undertaken not just by the government but by the entire country.
“We know how to prevent these fatalities, and all employers must take the steps necessary to keep their workers safe.”
Fatal work injuries in the private construction sector declined 7 percent to 721 in 2011, the fifth consecutive year of decline. Fatal construction injuries are down nearly 42 percent since 2006.
Deaths among construction trades workers (excluding supervisors) accounted for 11 percent of the overall death total by occupation; slips, trips and falls made up 37 percent of the deaths in that segment.
Deaths among supervisors of construction and extraction workers accounted for 2 percent of the total.
Once again, transportation and material moving operations proved the deadliest occupations, accounting for 26 percent of the total. Roadway fatalities accounted for half of that toll.
Fatal work injuries in private truck transportation rose 14 percent in 2011—the second straight year that counts have risen in this sector after reaching a low in 2009.
Work-related fatalities in the private mining industry (which includes oil and gas extraction) were down 10 percent in 2011, after an increase of 74 percent in 2010. Coal mining fatalities fell to 17 in 2011 from 43 in 2010.
Fatal work injuries increased among Hispanic and African American workers and declined 3 percent among white workers. Of the 729 fatalities involving Hispanic workers, 500 involved foreign-born workers.
Deaths declined among workers ages 18 and under and ages 55 and over, but climbed nearly 18 percent among workers ages 20 to 24, BLS reported.
“We will continue to collaborate with employers, workers, labor leaders, and safety and health professionals to ensure that every American who clocks in for a shift can make it home safe and sound at the end of the day,” Solis said. “The workers of our nation deserve nothing less.”
More information is available in the tables below.
Table 1. Fatal occupational injuries by event or exposure, 2011
Table 2. Fatal occupational injuries by industry and selected event or exposure, 2011
Table 3. Fatal occupational injuries by occupation and selected event or exposure, 2011
Table 4. Fatal occupational injuries by selected worker characteristics and selected event or exposure, 2011
Table 5. Fatal occupational injuries by state and event or exposure, 2010-2011