Do you feel safe at work?
While workplaces in general are much safer and healthier today than ever before, there are still far too many fatal accidents occurring in work sites across the United States.
When OSHA was created in the 1970s, workplaces reported approximately 38 fatal injuries a day. Today that number is down to 12 per day, but no company wants to lose a worker to an on-the-job accident.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics report for 2013* shows the number fatal injuries across all industries decreased almost 1 percent from 2012, from 4,628 to 4,585, with a rate of 3.3 fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.
Perhaps the most troubling statistic in this study is revealed when the numbers are broken down by industry. Construction had the most fatal injuries of any sector – 828 total, or 9.7 per 100,000 full-time workers, in 2013. That was 95 more than the next highest industry, transportation and warehousing. And construction laborers accounted for 220 total fatal work injuries in 2013, or 18.1 per 100,000 full-time workers.
Of those 828 fatalities, 149 percent were in the construction industry itself, while 100 were construction workers contracted to another industry, such as oil and gas extraction or government.
There were 165 total fatal injuries in heavy/civil construction, with the majority of those coming from transportation accidents. Those transportation incidents caused 45 of the 66 deaths in highway, street, and bridge construction.
Contact with an object -- such as a caught-in/between incident -- accounted for 36 heavy/civil fatalities and 11 highway, street, and bridge fatalities.
The majority of heavy and highway fatalities occurred inside actual work areas, with the rest of the incidents spread out between entering the work area, other traffic crashes, or other incidents.
In the rest of the industry, specialty trade contractors accounted for a whopping 494 fatalities, while building construction experienced 154 fatalities.
Listen to HCSS Senior Safety Consultant Jim Goss speak on Lessons in Construction Safety here.
*The Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps a Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, with the latest finalized data coming from 2013. All CFOI data is published annually, with a one-time revision eight months after the initial release to include additional records or corrections based on new information. This delay in data is because many fatal injury cases can take months or years to close out.