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NIOSH Fatal Occupational Injury Cost Fact Sheet: Construction

September 2006
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2006-153

NIOSH Fatal Occupational Injury Cost Fact Sheet: Construction

Number, rate, and costs of fatal occupational injuries in the U.S. construction industry by selected characteristics, 1992–2002

Number, rate, and costs of fatal occupational injuries in the U.S. construction industry by selected characteristics
Costs (2003 dollars)
Characteristic Number of fatalities Fatality rate(per 100,000 workers) Total (millions) Mean(thousands) Median(thousands)
All incidents 12,075 13.1 $10,421 $864 $867
Male 11,900 14.3 10,267 864 867
Female 175 2.0 154 879 873
Race of decedent:
White 10,422 12.5 9,073 872 876
Black 938 15.8 745 797 821
Other* 715 30.7 603 843 846
Age of decedent:
16–19 373 12.9 267 717 687
20–24 1151 12.8 1002 871 830
25–34 3000 11.7 3033 1011 980
35–44 3360 12.0 3463 1031 995
45–54 2352 14.0 1985 844 808
55–64 1335 17.0 630 472 461
65+ 504 29.4 40 83 62
Occupation group:
Managerial and
professional specialty
771 5.1 900 1175 1347
Technical, sales, and
administrative support
140 2.3 139 1002 1026
Service 26 7.2 16 631 676
Farming, forestry, and
38 15.8 24 628 693
Precision production,
craft, and repair
6140 11.6 5583 910 954
Operators, fabricators,
and laborers
4931 28.8 3733 758 801
Event or exposure:
Contact with objects and
2279 2.5 1929 847 847
Falls 3726 4.1 3085 830 851
Bodily reaction and
20 0.0 16 809 857
Exposure to harmful
substances or
2033 2.2 1929 950 953
3338 3.6 2841 853 856
Fires and explosions 315 0.3 284 903 935
Assaults and violent acts 347 0.4 321 926 923

*This category includes all other races, such as American Indian and Asian, as well as unknown or missing races.

Numbers are not reported for “unknown” or “not classified” categories.

Fatal Occupational Injury Cost Model

Theoretical Basis of Cost Estimation

The cost to society of a workplace fatality was estimated using the cost-of-illness approach, which combines direct and indirect costs to yield an overall cost of an occupational fatal injury. For these calculations, only medical expenses were used to estimate the direct cost associated with the fatality. The indirect cost was derived by calculating the present value of future earnings summed from the year of death until the decedent would have reached age 67, accounting for the probability of survival were it not for the premature death. (For more information, see Biddle, E [2004]. Economic Cost of Fatal Occupational Injuries in the United States, 1980–1997. Contemporary Economic Policy 22(3):370–381.)

Mathematical Representation of Indirect Costs

PVF = ΣPy,s (y+1)[Ys, j(n) + Yhs(n)] (1+g)n–y/(1+r)n–y

Mathematical Representation of Indirect Costs
PVF = present discounted value of loss due to occupational fatal injury per person
Py,s (y+1) = probability that a person of race r, sex s, and age y will survive to age y+1
y = age of the person at death
s = sex of the person
n = age if the person had survived
Ys,j(n) = median annual earnings of an employed person of sex s, occupation j, and age n (includes benefits and life-cycle wage growth adjustment)
Yhs(n) = mean annual imputed value of home production of a person of sex s and age n
g = wage growth rate attributable to overall productivity
r = real discount rate (3%)

Data Sources

Fatality data: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). These data exclude military personnel, decedents with unknown age or sex, fatalities occurring in New York City, and fatalities from the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Probability of survival: National Center for Health Statistics, Division of Vital Statistics.

Median annual earnings: BLS Current Population Survey. Wage data are based on the occupation of the decedent and the year of death adjusted by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Deflator to base year of dollar. Life-cycle wage growth was calculated based on the rate of change in wages between age groups.

Benefits: U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Benefits data are based on the industry where the decedent was employed and the year of death adjusted by the GDP Deflator.

Mean annual home production: Expectancy Data that were derived by a time diary study sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and conducted by the University of Maryland.

Wage growth rate: Based on BLS Employment Cost Index (ECI)

Medical costs: National Council on Compensation Insurance. Costs are a 3-year average cost.

Employment estimates for rate calculations: BLS Current Population Survey.

Fatality Rate Calculations

Fatality rates were calculated by NIOSH and may differ from previously published BLS CFOI rates. Fatality rates were calculated as deaths per 100,000 workers. Fatality rates for sex, race, age group, and occupation were calculated using employment estimates by the individual characteristic within the specific industry sector. Employment estimates for the specific industry sector were used to generate rates for event.

Classification Systems

Classification Systems
Industry: 1987 Standard Industrial Classification System (SIC)
Occupation: 1990 Bureau of Census Occupational Classification System (BOC)
Event: 1992 BLS Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System (OIICS)