Of the 4,693 workers who died on the job in 2016, 991 of them were in construction, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The fatalities ranged from falling from roofs or scaffolding, getting struck by heavy equipment, getting caught in machinery, being crushed by objects falling from cranes, suffering heat exhaustion, and getting electrocuted.
A fifth of on-the-job fatalities in 2016 were among construction workers, making it among the most dangerous industries to work in, according to OSHA statistics. There are various reasons why construction work is more deadly than other jobs. Crews often work at high levels and are at risk for falls; are exposed to weather elements like heat or thunderstorms; and often move from job site to job site, frequently placing them in unfamiliar surroundings.
Since construction follows the ebb and flow of the economy, there are more fatalities in the industry when the economy is strong, SangHyun Lee, associate professor at University of Michigan’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, told the Dallas Business Journal. For example, there were 1,204 construction worker deaths in the United States in 2007, but just 774 in 2010 after the recession slowed construction projections.
The high number of construction worker deaths is also due to there being more workers than in other industries, like landscapers or loggers. In fact, the construction industry has a lower fatality rate than many other sectors – about 10.1 per 100,000 workers.
Dallas Business Journal