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Reports: Construction industry fatalities, injuries rise

At the end of each year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issues reports on occupational deaths and occupational injuries. Last month, the BLS released its reports for 2019, including information on construction accident injuries and fatalities that year.

Unfortunately, on-the-job construction fatalities continued to rise in 2019. BLS said construction fatalities reached a 12-year high in 2019, with private-sector deaths climbing about 5 percent, to 1,061.

The data indicates that the 2019 total was the highest since 2007.

BLS noted that the construction industry’s fatality rate increased in 2019 to 9.7 per 100,000 full-time workers, up from 9.5 in 2018 and 2017.

Disappointment

Associated Builders and Contractors’ vice president of health, safety, environment and workforce development, Greg Sizemore said the “disappointing” fatality report makes it clear “that more work must be done in our industry to not only protect our employees from jobsite hazards but also improve the total human health of the construction workforce.”

Note: Associated Builders and Contractors has six Empire State chapters, including one devoted entirely to New York City.

“Bottom line,” said Sizemore. “One construction worker fatality is one too many”

‘Mostly controllable hazards’

Chris Trahan Cain, safety and health director for North America’s Building Trades Unions agreed, calling the fatality figure “troubling because each number represents a loved one lost to mostly controllable hazards on jobsites.”

A spokesperson for the Associated General Contractors of America said many construction companies worry that an “infusion of new and relatively inexperienced workers” has had a negative “impact on construction safety.”

According to a news report, the spokesperson added that “we need to constantly reinforce and enforce all safety measures and redouble our efforts to protect the health and safety of the industry’s workers.”

One of the most effective ways for New York construction workers to protect themselves and their families is to proceed carefully after a workplace accident and discuss all of their options with an experienced construction accident attorney.

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