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CONSTRUCTION SAFETY AND HEALTH

Directory of Construction Resources

CONSTRUCTION

Construction workers and employers build our roads, houses, and workplaces and repair and maintain our nation’s physical infrastructure. Construction includes building new structures, renovations involving additions, alterations, or maintenance, and repair of buildings or engineering projects such as highways or utility systems. Construction worksites are organizationally complex multi-employer sites and present numerous health and safety challenges. The NIOSH Construction Program provides national and world leadership to prevent work-related illness, injury, disability, and death by systematically gathering information, conducting targeted scientific research, and translating the knowledge gained into products, solutions and services tailored to meet construction needs. In collaboration with industry and labor partners and stakeholders, including OSHA, we are dedicated to improving safety and health conditions for all construction workers.

In 2016, 10.3 million U.S. workers were employed in construction, a 16% increase after construction employment bottomed out in 2012.1 The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects construction employment to increase over the next eight years.2 Small businesses with fewer than 20 employees account for 92.5% of all construction establishments, and 41.4% of all construction employees work in small businesses.3 Falls remain the leading cause of work-related deaths in construction, accounting for about one-third of the total number of fatalities in this industry.1 Although fatal falls followed the overall injury trends, fall deaths rose faster than overall deaths in construction during the economic recovery that started in 2013.1 Between 2011 and 2015, the number of fall fatalities in construction increased by 36.4% from 269 to 367, compared to a 26.1% increase in overall fatalities.1  The burden of injuries from falls on the same level in construction is sometimes overlooked, yet in 2015, almost six times as many fatal falls occurred in construction compared to manufacturing, the industry with the second highest number.1 As far as nonfatal fall injuries, in 2010, there were approximately 18,130 nonfatal injuries to construction workers as a result of falls.4

Nearly half of all deaths on construction sites occur in companies with ten or fewer employees or among those who are self-employed.5 Construction workers were more likely to be male (90.0% versus 53.0%), Hispanic (29.9% versus 16.3%), and foreign-born (26.9% versus 18.1%) than the general U.S. workforce.6 In 2012, 222 Hispanic construction workers died on the job – a 13% increase from 2011, compared to a 9% increase for the overall construction industry. Between 2011 and 2012 the increase in the number of fatalities among older construction workers aged 45+ was 115% compared to 2% among their younger counterparts.7

  1. CPWR (2017). Quarterly Data Report: Fall Injuries and Prevention in the Construction Industry http://www.cpwr.com/publications/fall-injuries-and-prevention-construction-industry
  2. BLS (2015). Employment Projections: 2014-2024. Table 2. Employment by major industry sector DC: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics https://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecopro.t02.htm
  3. U.S. Census Bureau (2017). U.S. Census data. https://www.census.gov/en.html
  4. CPWR (2013). The Construction Chartbook. Fifth Ed. Silver Spring, MD: CPWR- the Center for Construction Research and Training. http://www.cpwr.com/publications/construction-chart-book
  5. CPWR (2017). Construction Falls Prevention Campaign. http://stopconstructionfalls.com/ Accessed February 21, 2017
  6. CPWR (2016). Quarterly Data Report: Workplace Safety and Health Perceptions of Construction Workers http://www.cpwr.com/publications/third-quarter-workplace-safety-and-health-perceptions-construction-workers
  7. CPWR (2014). Quarterly Data Report: New Trends in Fatalities among Construction Workers http://www.cpwr.com/publications/vol-3-no-2-new-trends-fatalities-among-construction-workers
  8. CPWR (2010). Data Brief: Fatal and Nonfatal Injuries among Hispanic Construction Workers,1992-2008 http://www.cpwr.com/publications/fatal-and-nonfatal-injuries-among-hispanic-construction-workers-1992-2008
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