Each year the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes figures that measure the safety of workers in diverse industries. As part of the construction industry, it’s interesting to look at these figures as a thumbnail guide to see what progress we’re making.
Good News: The rate of fatal injuries per 100,000 full time equivalent employees in the construction industry dropped to 11.8.
Bad News: There were 885 fatal work injuries in the construction industry, which is the highest total since the Great Recession started.
The following is from “National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2014 (Preliminary Results)”:
- “Fatal work injuries in construction and extraction occupations increased 5 percent (40 cases) in 2014 to 885 cases. This is the highest total for this occupation group since 2008 (emphasis added).
- “The fatal injury rate for workers in construction and extraction occupations was 11.8 per 100,000 FTE workers in 2014 and 12.2 per 100,000 FTE workers in 2013.
- “Fatal injuries among construction trades workers increased 3 percent in 2014 to 611 fatalities, the highest count since 2009 (emphasis added).
- NOTE: “Fatal work injuries to construction laborers, the occupation within construction trades workers with the highest number of fatalities, decreased by 14 cases in 2014 to 206. Conversely, the number of fatally-injured electricians increased by 14 cases in 2014 to 78.”
Charts that provide a great snapshot of other industries are available here: http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cfch0013.pdf. Some other thoughts:
Fire related work fatalities down
As manufacturers of fire retardant OSB, we pay particular attention to deaths caused by fire. These were down: “Fatal work injuries due to fires decreased 35 percent from 82 in 2013 to 53 in 2014.
“Fatal injuries resulting from explosions, however, increased 25 percent to 84 cases, led by an increase in explosions of pressure vessels, piping, or tires (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015).”
“The preliminary total of 4,679 fatal work injuries in 2014 was 2 percent higher than the final count of 4,585 fatal work injuries reported for 2013. The count for 2014 was the highest since 2011.” The fatal work injury rate (per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers) remained the same at 3.3. This is down significantly from 2006 level of 4.2 fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.
As we close 2015 and begin 2016, it is a good time to remind all those we work with to keep safety at the forefront. And as they used to say on “Hill Street Blues” – “Let’s be careful out there.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jmg86CRBBtw