Construction workers in Pennsylvania and across the country may be seeing safer workplaces, as workplace deaths and the overall industry fatality rate both declined in 2017. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that fatal workplace accidents in construction dropped 2 percent in 2017 and that 971 construction workers lost their lives on the job during the year. The number of fatalities was still higher than those in 2014 and 2015, when 899 and 937 workers were killed on the job, respectively.

The BLS report also said that the fatality rate for construction workers fell to 9.5 per 100,000 full-time workers from 10.1 per 100,000, the rate in both 2015 and 2016. However, some jobs were far more likely to be fatal than others. Roofers suffered a workplace fatality rate of 45.2 per 100,000 full-time workers, while structural iron and steel workers had a fatality rate of 33.4. In addition, while the overall number of fatalities dropped in 2017, some sectors of the industry saw an increase in workplace deaths. Buildings construction experienced an 8 percent increase in fatal accidents in 2017.

Across the country, 5,147 workers lost their lives in workplace accidents in 2017. Federal officials praised the advances but indicated that any workplace fatalities are still too many, noting the commitment of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensuring safe workplaces. Crane deaths fell to 33, the lowest since the statistics began being tracked in 2003. Many attributed this reduction to safety standards for construction cranes that took effect in 2010.

Workers in construction and other injuries often face serious risks of workplace injuries and accidents. In many cases, injured workers face growing medical bills or even the loss of their jobs. A workers’ compensation lawyer might help injured workers to protect their rights and seek compensation for their damages.

Source: Engineering News-Record, “Construction Workplace Deaths, Fatality Rate Down“, Tom Ichniowski, 12/18/2018