Last month, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued its Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary for 2016. One of the most alarming statistics in this report is that there were 5,190 fatal work injuries record in the U.S. that year, of which, 4,693 were in the private sector.
Not only was this a 7 percent increase from the previous year’s census, but it was the highest total of work-related fatalities since 2008.
Construction remains one of the most dangerous industries
While many industries were represented in this report, few had as many workplace deaths as construction. In fact, of the 4,693 fatal injuries recorded in the private sector, 991 were suffered by construction workers — meaning more than 20 percent of every fatal workplace injury in 2016 involved someone working in construction.
Even worse, these 991 construction fatalities represent a nearly 6 percent increase from the year before.
Unfortunately, these construction-related fatality statistics are not terribly surprising, particularly to those who work in the construction trade. After all, these individuals must deal with dangerous working conditions on a daily basis, whether they are working with heavy machinery, high atop scaffolding or with dangerous materials.
For instance, according to numbers reported by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the following four issues alone account for more than half of all construction worker deaths: falls; struck/hit by objects; electrocutions; and caught-in/between accidents.