Construction Safety in 2022: Construction’s Fatality and Injury Statistics


SkillSignal’s mission is to protect and serve the men and women who build our beautiful cities. It’s a well-known fact, that our industry is infamous for being one of the most dangerous fields to work in. 1 out of every 5 workplace fatalities is construction-related, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It’s easy to forget just how grave the consequences on jobsites are, when you’ve gotten comfortable being on them day in, and day out.

We’ve compiled a list of statistics to illustrate just how dangerous construction is, and give us a common goal to strive for. We are committing to the change we want to see in this industry, by making safety and compliance a frictionless and gratifying experience for everyone involved.

Here is why the safety and the wellbeing of our men and women is a top priority for us:

Construction Fatalities:

  1. In 2020 we lost 1,008 construction workers on the job (BLS).
  2. In 2019, 11.4 million U.S. workers were employed in construction, a 25% increase since 2011.Employment growth was even more noticeable among Hispanic construction workers, it increased by more than half (55%) during this period (CDC).
  3. Fatalities among Hispanic construction workers are especially concerning,the number of fatal injuries rose about 90% from 2011 to 2019, outpacing their employment growth in the industry during the period (CDC).
  4. Construction workers have a 1-in-200 chance of being fatally injured on the job over the course of a 45-year career (Safety & Health Magazine).
  5. Almost 50% of the deaths on construction jobsites happen in companies with 10 or fewer employees, or among those who are self-employed (CDC).
  6. There were 106 workplace fatalities on road construction jobsites in 2010. Fatalities at road construction jobsites typically account for 1.5%-3% of all workplace fatalities annually (DOT).
  7. The primary causes of worker fatalities on road construction jobsites in recent years were (DOT):
    • Runovers/backovers (primarily by dump trucks): 48%
    • Collision Between Vehicles/Mobile Equipment: 14%
    • Caught in Between/Struck by Construction Equipment and Objects: 14%
  8. Fatal 4:

    Falls, Electrocutions, Struck-by, Caught in-between.

  9. Falls are the leading cause of death in construction. In 2020, there were 351 fatal falls (OSHA).
  10. Construction roofing is said to be the 4th deadliest job in the world with a fatality rate of 39.7 per 100,000 workers (BLS).
  11. 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 (CDC).
  12. 34% of all construction deaths are falls. By eliminating falls alone, we would save more than 300 lives every year (BLS).
  13. 54% of the workers killed by falls had no access to a personal fall arrest system, and 23% had access to a PFAS but did not use it (CPWR). (PSA: Please wear your harnesses!)
  14. Between 2015 and 2017, over a fifth (21%) of fatal falls were from between 11 and 15 feet in height. (CPWR)
  15. 21% occurred from a height of more than 30 feet. (CPWR)
  16. Among falls to a lower level, falls from roofs were the most common, comprising almost one-third (32%) of all fall deaths in construction from 2015 to 2017, followed by 24% of falls that occurred from ladders. (CPWR)
  17. Overall, falls from roofs, ladders, and scaffolds and staging accounted for nearly three-quarters of fall fatalities to a lower level. (71%) (CPWR)
  18. More construction laborers died from falls to a lower level than any other occupation group: a total of 242 laborers died from this cause from 2015 to 2017. (CPWR)
  19. In 2017 struck by object incidents caused 80 out of 971 of the total deaths in construction (OSHA).
  20. In 2017 electrocutions caused 71 out of 971 of the total deaths in construction (OSHA).
  21. In 2017 caught-in/between incidents caused 50 out of 971 of total deaths in construction (OSHA).
  22. From 2011 to 2017, the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reported a total of 297 crane-related deaths.That’s an average of 42 per year over the 7-year period (BLS).
  23. From 2011 to 2017, men accounted for 293 of the 297 fatal injuries involving cranes (BLS).
  24. 50% all fatal crane injuries involved a worker being struck by an object or equipment. About 3/5ths of these cases (91 of 154) involved the worker being struck by a falling object or equipment; in 79 of these cases, the worker was struck by an object falling from or put in motion by a crane (BLS).
  25. Regional Data:

  26. From 2011 to 2017, the state of Texas had the most fatal crane related injuries with a total of 50, followed by Florida and New York with 16 total each (BLS).
  27. The 2nd highest fatality rate in construction belongs to ironworkers with 29.8 fatalities per 100,000 workers (BLS).
  28. The lowest fatality rate in construction belongs to carpenters at 6.7 fatalities per 100,000 workers (BLS).
  29. The most construction fatalities in the USA happened in Texas (Capterra).
  30. In the U.S., the state of Maine has the least construction fatalities (Capterra).
  31. The construction industry is #2 in the United States for fatal injuries in workers younger than 18 (US National Library of Medicine).
  32. In NYC since September of 2018 CSC issued 7,600 SWO’s (BTEANY).
  33. In NYC the DOB averages about 6,800 active large sites at any one time (BTEANY).
  34. In NYC the DOB concluded that 4,681 Sites or 62% were missing required documents (BTEANY).
  35. In NYC, 2,118 of the 7,600 were Full Stops for NO Construction Plans or NO Site Safety Plans (BTEANY).
  36. In NYC, 2,563 out of the 7,600 were Partials issued for no logs (BTEANY).
  37. In NYC, 3,856 Additional Violations were found on these sites (BTEANY).
  38. OSHA’s Construction Safety
    NYC Calendar Year 2021

    REFLECTIONS AND FORECAST:
    NYC DOB REPORT 2022

    Construction Injuries:

  39. Every year over 20,000 workers are injured in road construction work zones. Between 2003-2008, these injuries were caused by (DOT):
    • Contact with objects or equipment (35%)
    • Slips, trips, or falls (20%)
    • Overexertion (15%)
    • Transportation incidents (12%)
    • Exposure to harmful substances or environments (5%).
  40. In America, a worker is accidentally injured every second by a preventable event (NSC).
  41. Every year 313 million individuals are injured at work (GWI).
  42.  1 in 10 construction workers are injured every year, that’s 10% of construction’s workforce (OSHA).
  43. CSAO found that construction workers with back injuries who participate in a back care program are less likely to be re-injured than those who don’t participate (ELCOSH).
  44. According to OSHA about 50% of serious injuries that occurred at the workplace are still going unreported (LDG Law).
  45. The top 5 injury causes account for over $8.83 billion in costs and represent 83.8% of all injuries in the construction industry annually (LMI):

    Financial impact:

  46. According to the NSC, indirect costs can be up to 17 times higher than the direct costs of a fatality in the construction industry (NSC).
  47. According to the NSC, for every $1 in direct costs, indirect costs could be as much as $2.12 (NSC).
  48. $32,000 is the average amount of money construction companies can save for each medically consulted injury they avoid (NSC).
  49. 15% of all workers’ compensation costs are spent on workers who were injured while on a construction jobsite (WCB).
  50. In construction about 4.4% of employer compensation costs were spent on workers’ compensation alone, nearly 3 times the average cost for employers in all other industries (CPWR).
  51. The Center for Disease Control & Prevention estimates that a fatal injury carries an average dollar cost of $991,027.00 (CDC).
  52. Construction companies spend on average 3.6% of their budgets on injuries, but only 2.6% on safety training. Construction firms are paying more for poor safety practices than they are for training to prevent these costly practices (NF).
  53. The Construction Safety Association of Ontario found that when firms invest just 2.5% ofproject costs into safety training and procedures, profits increase by 4 to 7% per project and accident rates decrease (ELCOSH).
  54. To offset $50,000 in losses from injuries, illnesses, or damage and still make a 3% profit, a company must sell an additional $1,667,000 in services (ELCOSH).
  55. The American Society of Safety Engineers found that for every dollar spent on a quality safety and health program, businesses saved $8 (Construction Business Owner).
  56. #1: $3.56 billion (33.8%) of total workers compensation costs for non-fatal claims with more than 5 days away from work are due to falls to lower level (LMI).
  57. #2: $2.21 billion (21.0%) of total workers compensation costs for non-fatal claims with more than 5 days away from work are due to overexertion involving outside sources (handling objects) (LMI).
  58. #3: $1.40 billion (13.2%) of total workers compensation costs for non-fatal claims with more than 5 days away from work are due to struck by object or equipment (LMI).
  59. #4: $0.99 billion (9.4%) of total workers compensation costs for non-fatal claims with more than 5 days away from work are due to falls on same level (LMI).
  60. #5: $0.67 billion (6.4%) of total workers compensation costs for non-fatal claims with more than 5 days away from work are due to other exertions or bodily reactions (LMI).
  61. There are roughly 150,000 construction jobsite injuries each year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
  62. Workers between 25-34 years old are the most likely to be injured on a constructionjobsite (BLS).
  63. The total annual cost of all construction injuries in the United States is over $11.5 billion. Fatal construction injuries are about $5 billion of that total (LI).
  64. Over a 45-year long career, a construction worker has a 75% chance of experiencing a disabling injury (Safety & Health Magazine).
  65. 60% of construction workplace injuries occur within the worker’s 1st year of employment (BLS).
  66. Silica Hazards:

  67. OSHA reported that out of the 2.3 million workers that are exposed to silica hazards in their workplaces, the vast majority (an estimated 2 million) work in construction (CPWR).
  68. Infrastructure Work Zone Hazards

  69. In the Highway, Street, and Bridge Construction subsector (NAICS 23730) 59% of workers are exposed to silica at certain levels, higher than any other subsector in construction (CPWR).
  70. More than a quarter (26%) of workers in the Foundation, Structure, and Building Exterior Contractors subsector (NAICS 23810) are exposed to silica levels above the PEL (50 µg/m3), and as many as 10% are exposed at 250 µg/m3 or more (CPWR).Work zones play a crucial role in maintaining and upgrading our Nation’s roads. Unfortunately, daily changes in traffic patterns, narrowed rights-of-way, and other construction activities often create a combination of risk factors resulting in crashes, injuries, and fatalities.
  71. Work Zone: Exposures. In the United States, 1 work zone fatality occurs for every 4 billion vehicle-miles of travel, and for every $112 million worth of roadway construction work (DOT).
  72. Work Zone: Fatalities. Between 2018 and 2019, fatal crashes in work zones increased by 11% while fatal crashes outside of work zones decreased by 2%. The 11% increase in work zone fatalities outpaced the modest 0.3% increase in overall highway construction spending and the 0.8% increase in overall vehicle-miles-traveled nationally (DOT).
  73. Work Zone: Crashes. In 2019, nearly one quarter of all fatal work zone crashes involved rear-end collisions (DOT).
  74. Safety Management

  75. According to the NSC, a national safety poll found that 50% of individuals responded that safety meetings are held less often than they should have (NSC).
  76. According to the NSC, a national safety poll found 39% of the individuals think management does the bare minimum required by law to keep employees safe (NSC).
  77. According to the NSC, a national safety poll found 36% of individuals say safety takes a backseat to completing the job efficiently (NSC).
  78. According to the NSC, a national safety poll found that 30% individuals say they are too afraid to report safety issues (NSC).
  79. A third (33%) of the entire workforce suffers from excessive pressure in their job (GWI).
  80. Mental Health Crisis

  81. Construction’s suicide rate is four times greater than the national average (17.3/100,000) and five times greater than all other construction fatalities combined (10.1/100,000). In fact, suicide could rightfully top the list of OSHA’s Fatal Four Hazards, which unfortunately garner a lot more attention. (CDC)
  82. The overdose fatality rate for construction workers in Massachusetts was seven times higher than the average in the state in 2015-17 (WILEY)
  83. There were nearly 70,000 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2020 – a 36% increase over the previous year. (CDC)
  84. Construction has the highest suicide rate of all industries, at 53.2 suicides per 100,000 workers. (CDC)
  85. CDC noted that construction workers are also disproportionately prone to abuse alcohol and drugs — especially opioids, cocaine, and marijuana. The number of construction workers abusing prescription opioids is estimated at 3.2 percent versus 2 percent of the general population. Similar proportions are seen with cocaine use (1.8 percent versus 0.8 percent), and non-medical marijuana use (12.3 percent versus 7.5 percent).
  86. 2021 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report shows that in 2019 the veteran suicide rate was 31.6 per 100,000 veterans. The adjusted suicide rate for the same year for all US adults is 16.8 per 100,000.
  87. The construction industry suicide rate is 53.2 per 100,000. (CDC)
  88. The US construction labor force is 91% male, men are 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide.
  89. Suicide Rates by Trades:
    • Ironworkers = 79
    • Millwrights = 78.7
    • Brick/Block Masons = 67.6
    • Roofers = 65.2
    • Laborers = 62
    • Carpenters = 54.7
    • Equipment Operators
    • Construction Managers = 45.7
    • Electricians = 44
    • Trades First Line Supervisors = 44 (CDC)
  90. US construction workers are predominantly white, middle aged, males, the highest suicide rate among the general population. (AGC)
  91. 38% of US construction workers are between the ages of 45 and 54, median age is 43. The highest rate of suicide in the US is males between the ages of 45 and 54. (AGC)
  92. The Risk Factors and Crisis Drivers:
    • Construction Culture and Stigma
    • Transient workforce with no connection to workplace community
    • Opioid abuse (construction ranks #1 in drug and alcohol abuse)
      Used for pain management and escapism

      75% increased likelihood of suicide attempt
      Approximately 35% of those that die by suicide have alcohol in their system at time of death.
    • Military is shaping the labor shortage – PTSD and other adjustments
    • Access to lethal means
    • Working away from home/family for long periods of time
    • Too few companies have policies or procedures for addressing mental health or suicide among their workforce. (AGC)
  93. A 2020 study found that 83% of construction workers have experienced a mental health problem. (BCB)
  94. There are approximately 7,500,000 construction workers in the US, and those numbers coupled with the suicide rates mean another 4,000-5,000 people will die on top of the approximate 1,000 people who are killed in construction accidents each year. ( Zippia)

Are you shocked by any of these construction statistics? What are your next steps to improve your safety and education programs? Let us know below.

Want to learn about Behavioral Based Safety (BBS), and implement strategies to prevent incidents and injuries? Read this

Let’s work together on making sure we all go home safe at the end of the day. Give us a call at: 917-745-6877 or email us at: info@skillsignal.com

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