National Construction Practice Safety Alert

The Center for Construction Training and Research (CPWR) recently released a report with conclusions that should be of great value to construction employers across the United States. The report shows that, in 2019, the number of construction workers killed on the job reached its highest level in a decade, making construction one of the most dangerous industries in the country. Using 2011-2019 data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, researchers identified 1,102 construction worker fatalities in 2019, a 41% increase from the initial year (2011) of the study period.

The study identified that the increase in fatalities was especially pronounced among Hispanic workers, soaring 90% over the nine-year period, far outpacing the group’s 55% rise in employment over that time. Given the growing Hispanic employment and increased fatalities in this worker group, employers should ensure that safety training effectively reaches Hispanic workers, including taking into consideration their cultural and language needs.

Workers in the 45-64 age group accounted for the most fatalities (241) between 2016 and 2019. With the aging of the workforce, the report suggests that work redesign and retraining may be necessary to improve the safety of older workers.

Falls and stuck by, caught-in/between, and electrocutions, known as OSHA’s Construction Focus Four, resulted in 709 deaths (63%) in 2019. Fatal falls to a lower level rose to 401 in 2019, accounting for 36% of all fatalities that year. Falls from roofs, ladders, and scaffolds continue to be the primary sources of these fatalities.  Employers should continue to proactively address the Construction Focus Four hazards and to also address fall hazards with effective fall protection policies and procedures, such as personal fall arrest systems (PFAS), that protect workers.

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EPIC National Construction Practice

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