Construction Deaths Decline, Fatal Falls Up

While the number of fatalities in Construction has decreased, deaths from falls continue to increase, according to a new report.

Fall fatalities in construction have increased for the seventh year in a row and have risen by 45% since 2011.

One reason: In 2017, construction employment in the U.S. increased to 10.7 million workers.

Total fatalities climbed to 1,034 in 2016, a 32% increase compared to a low of 781 deaths in 2011, according to the Center for Construction Research and Training.

That number fell to 1,013 deaths in 2017, a decrease of about 2%.

Leading Cause of Deaths

But fall fatalities continue to increase, especially falls to a lower level, the leading cause of construction fatalities over time. The construction industry experienced more fatal falls to a lower level than any other major industry.

Of 389 fatal falls in 2017, 367 were to a lower level. In the same year, 51% of fall fatalities to a lower level occurred in the construction industry.

Increase in Same-level Falls

Slips, trips and falls on the same level were responsible for a higher percentage of fatalities from 2011 to 2017.

Fatalities from all types of slips, trips and falls in construction increased from 35% in 2011 to 38.5% in 2017.

Other key points from the report:

• Small employers with fewer than 20 employees accounted for 75% of fatal falls between 2015 and 2017, despite making up only 39% of construction payroll employment.
• Roofers had the highest risk of fatal falls with 35.9 deaths per 100,000 full-time employees (FTE), more than 10 times the rate of all construction occupations combined.
• The rate of fatal falls for construction laborers decreased by 25% from 5.6 per 100,000 FTE in 2011 to 4.2 per 100,000 FTE in 2017.
• Workers over 55 had more fatal falls from ladders than from other sources.

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