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Fatal falls in construction: Total deaths rise, but rate falls, report shows

The National Safety Council just published an article in Safety + Health Magazine highlighting CPWR’s recent Quarterly Data Report on Trends of Fall Injuries & Prevention in the Construction Industry.

The number of fatal falls to a lower level among construction workers increased from 2011 to 2017 – reflecting a surge in employment – although the rate of such incidents decreased 25%. The construction industry added about 1.8 million jobs between 2012 (8.9 million workers) and 2017 (10.7 million). Of the 10.7 million workers, 367 died after falling to a lower level in 2017 – up from 260 in 2011 – for a rate of 4.2 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. That rate was 5.6 in 2011, the report states.

Other results:

  • Workers at organizations with fewer than 20 employees comprised 75% of fall-related fatalities between 2015 and 2017.
  • Although roofers experienced fewer fatal falls in 2017, the rate of fatal falls among the subgroup – 35.9 per 100,000 FTEs – was more than 10 times greater than the rate of all construction occupations combined.
  • Workers younger than 25 suffered fatal falls at a rate of 2.0 per 100,000 FTEs in 2017, compared with 13.1 per 100,000 FTEs among workers 65 and older.

“The findings in this report emphasize the importance of the ongoing [National Fall Prevention] Campaign, and the need to further reduce falls among construction workers,” the report states. “The construction industry continues to report more fatal falls than any other industry.”