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Construction Fatalities on the Rise

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

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The number of fatal injuries on job sites is creeping up, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, based on data collected in 2014.

Construction fatalities rose 6 percent—to 874, from the year earlier, the BLS reported Thursday (Sept. 17).

A preliminary total of 4,679 fatal work injuries were recorded for the year, a 2 percent increase from 2013. The preliminary rate is a little over three per 100,000 full-time workers.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics released preliminary report on worker deaths for 2014. The numbers underscore the importance of safety in the construction and other industries.

Construction fatalities accounted for 20.6 percent of the total private industry fatalities in 2014, the BLS reported.

Trades, Laborer Data

The BLS noted that fatal injuries among construction trades workers increased 3 percent in 2014 to 611 fatalities, the highest count since 2009.

Fatal work injuries to construction laborers—the occupation within construction trades workers with the highest number of fatalities—decreased by 14 cases in 2014 to 206.

Conversely, the number of fatally-injured electricians increased by 14 cases in 2014, to 78.

Heavy and civil engineering construction recorded a low of 138 fatal injuries in 2014, down from 165 in 2013, BLS reported.

Contracted Labor Deaths

In 2014, the number of contracted workers who died on the job was 797, compared to 749 reported in 2013, BLS reported.

Over half of all contracted workers (415) were working in the construction or extraction occupations when fatally injured.

Decedents in this occupation group were most often employed as construction laborers (108); electricians (48); first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers (44); roofers (42); and painters, construction and maintenance (25), according to BLS.

13 Each Day

“Far too many people are still killed on the job—13 workers every day taken from their families tragically and unnecessarily,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez said in a statement.

© / kozmoat98

The BLS noted that fatal injuries among construction trades workers increased 3 percent in 2014 to 611 fatalities, the highest count since 2009.

“These numbers underscore the urgent need for employers to provide a safe workplace for their employees as the law requires.”

Perez commented that 789 Hispanic workers died on the job in 2014, compared to 817 in 2013. The drop was “gratifying;” as the agency has been focused on addressing the problem. However the Secretary said the number was “unacceptably high,” noting there was still much work to do.

Troubling Rise

“BLS data shows fatalities rising in the construction sector (along with an overall increase in construction employment),” he said. Perez also noted the growing number of deaths in the oil and gas industries. According to the data, 142 people died last year working in the oil fields, up from 112 in 2013.

He said labor officials will continue to focus outreach and enforcement campaigns in those sectors.  

“The U.S. Department of Labor will continue to work with employers, workers, community organizations, unions and others to make sure that all workers can return home safely at the end of every day,” Perez added.

Revised 2014 data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries will be released in spring 2016. The Wall Street Journal reports that generally 100 or 200 additional deaths are included in the final numbers.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Department of Labor; Fatalities; Government; Health & Safety; Health and safety; Labor; Safety; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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