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Fatality rate among Hispanic construction workers at record high in 2020

In its latest bulletin, the Center for Construction Research and Training looks at injuries and fatalities sustained by construction workers in the US over a 10 years period. Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) for the fatal injuries and on on employer logs obtained from the BLS Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) for the non fatal injuries, this bulletin provides an overview of the trends of injuries and deaths in the construction industry.

Construction work remains one of  the most dangerous job in the US

In 2020 construction workers represented 7.3% of the total workforce in the US and 21.7% of the workforce fatal injuries. Globally, between 2011 and 2020, working on a construction site became more dangerous with both hard hat fatality and injury rates on the rise. 2020 was affected by the Covid 19 pandemic and while less fatalities and injuries were reported because the activity was limited, the fatality rate and the injury rate both reached a record high that year.

Hispanic workers were among those recording the highest increase in the fatality rate. While the fatality rate for all demographic groups together reached 10 per per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers in 2020 compared to 9.6 in 2019, the fatality rate among Hispanic workers was much higher than among non-Hispanic workers with 12.6 per 100,000 FTEs compared to 8.9. The fatality rate of Hispanic workers reached its highest ever in 2020. In the past years it would oscillate around 10.


Fatal injury rate in the construction industry by demographics

While looking at the fatal rate by occupations, roofers and helpers remain the most dangerous occupations of all construction work occupations

In 2020 roofers had a rate of fatality of 47.0 per 100,000 FTEs and helpers had a rate of fatality of 43.3.  As a reminder the global rate for the construction private industry was 10.2. Construction managers were the less at risk of dying in a construction accident with a 3.4 fatality rate.

“Fall, slips and trips” remain the number one cause of fatalities for construction workers

Transportation accidents were the second cause of fatalities in 2020 with half of them resulting from traffic accidents involving a motorized land vehicle. The number one cause of construction worker injuries was “contact with equipment and objects” followed by “falls, slips and trips”. Heat injuries came right behind. Ladders remain one of the most dangerous tools causing every year a large number of fatalities and injuries to construction workers.

Read more in the CPWR Bulletin