Construction Safety: Good News / Bad News

By on Dec 14, 2015

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)”:

Charts that provide a great snapshot of other industries are available here: 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).”

Overall Numbers

“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.”