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May 23, 2017

New Study Gives Data, Recommendations for Preventing Construction Fatalities

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The Associated General Contractors of America just released a new safety study with recommendations designed to help firms further improve the safety and health of their workforce. AGC of America partnered with the Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech to undertake a comprehensive study of every construction fatality that took place over the three-year period from 2010-2012.

A total of 2,338 workers died from construction-related injuries between 2010 and 2012, out of an overall 14,011 fatalities across all industries. Although no significant trend was observed across the three years, the difference among census regions was significant. Southern states accounted for 1,081 (46%) of those fatalities, more than twice that of any other region. When employment was factored in, the South still led the regions with 17 fatalities per 100,000 employees per year. It was followed closely by the Midwest with 16 fatalities per 100,000 employees.

New Findings

  • Most fatalities occurred between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., with a peak at noon. Previous studies found that occurrence of fatalities was most dominant between the hours of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., and bottomed around noon.
  • Fatalities due to Transportation and Violence and other injuries by persons or animals increased, while fatalities due to Exposure to harmful substances and Fire and explosions decreased.
  • Small construction establishments with 1-9 employees accounted for 47% of fatalities and the highest fatality rate at 26 fatalities per 100,000 workers annually. Most previous studies ignored the smallest establishments.
  • Most highway and road work zone fatalities involved vehicular operations.
  • Hispanic workers made up 24% of the workforce and accounted for 20% of highway and road work zone fatalities in 2010-2012. This conflicts with the widespread perception that Hispanics are disproportionately victims of construction fatalities.

This study is innovative in several ways:
  • The data is current and the findings reflect the most recent trends in injuries in the construction industry.
  • Unlike previous studies of BLS data, this study drilled down deeper to capture specifics and the analysis resulted in more detailed and actionable information.
  • Advanced analytic techniques were adopted that can address a high number of cases with increased accuracy.
  • Unlike previous studies, the analysis included an emphasis on work zone-related accidents.
  • Regional differences were also investigated for every factor with an attempt to provide more targeted interventions while considering geographic variances.
Authors of the study say it provides concrete and actionable recommendations for intervention.

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