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Fatal falls in the private construction industry, 2003–2013

May 15, 2015

From 2003 to 2013, fatal injuries in the private construction industry declined by 27 percent. There were 1,131 workplace deaths in construction in 2003, compared with 828 in 2013. This decline resulted in part from the decline in construction employment during the 2007–2009 recession. Private construction deaths caused by falls also declined, from 364 in 2003 to 302 in 2013. During the 2003–2013 period, falls accounted for a stable share of construction deaths, averaging around 35 percent.

 

 

Fatal workplace injuries in private residential and nonresidential construction from falls and other events, 2003–2013
Year Residential construction fatal falls Nonresidential construction fatal falls Residential construction fatalities from other events Nonresidential construction fatalities from other events

2003

102 262 171 596

2004

132 313 128 661

2005

134 260 135 663

2006

130 303 153 653

2007

110 337 157 600

2008

93 243 103 536

2009

81 202 106 445

2010

87 177 95 415

2011

70 192 84 392

2012

111 179 94 422

2013

97 205 106 420

About a third of the 3,820 fatal falls in private construction during the 2003–2013 period occurred in residential construction. Falls, however, accounted for a larger share of fatal injuries in residential construction than in nonresidential construction. About 46 percent of fatal work injuries in residential construction resulted from falls. By comparison, 32 percent of fatal work injuries in nonresidential construction resulted from falls.

Over the 2011–2013 period, 36 percent of fatal falls to a lower level in private construction were from roofs (297 deaths). Ladders accounted for another 24 percent of fatal falls (196 deaths). Scaffolds and staging accounted for 14 percent of fatal falls (119 deaths). The most common height of fatal construction falls over the 2011–2013 period was 11–15 feet (143 deaths). Fatal falls of more than 30 feet were nearly as common (142 deaths).

 

 

Fatal falls to a lower level in private construction, by source and height of fall, 2011–2013
Height Roofs Ladders Scaffolds Other source

More than 30 feet

47 8 26 61

26 to 30 feet

41 6 10 13

21 to 25 feet

50 20 12 20

16 to 20 feet

61 28 18 21

11 to 15 feet

57 34 20 32

6 to 10 feet

11 33 17 22

Less than 6 feet

(1) 12 (1) 20

Unspecified height

30 55 15 24
Footnotes:

(1) No data were reported or data do not meet publication standards.

These data are from the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program. From May 4–15, 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is having a National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Fatal falls in the private construction industry, 2003–2013 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2015/fatal-falls-in-the-private-construction-industry-2003-2013.htm (visited October 17, 2019).

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