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Fatal construction injuries rise 9 percent

The men and women who erect Denver housing, office buildings, bridges and shopping centers know that the construction business is a dangerous one. Many construction workers regularly risk serious injury and worse as part of their days on job sites.

Confirmation of those hazards comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which recently released its report on fatal work-related injuries for 2012. A total of 806 fatal injuries occurred in the construction industry that year, up 9 percent from 2011. 

Across all lines of work in all industries, there were 4,628 workplace fatalities, which means there were 3.4 work-related deaths per 100,000 full-time workers for the year. That’s the lowest worker fatality rate since 2006, the BLS notes.

The BLS also reported a surge in on-the-job contractor deaths, up 173 from 2011 for a total of 715 fatalities. As more and more firms use contractors rather than permanent hires, both in and outside of the construction industry, injuries and fatalities continue to rise within the group. Contractors now account for more than 15 percent of all job-related deaths.

Roadway fatalities were also substantial in 2012, as 1,153 workers lost their lives in road-related accidents. That’s a 5 percent increase over the previous year.

A workplace safety publication notes that the number of fatalities among Hispanic workers was virtually unchanged from 2011 to 2012, dropping by just one to a total of 748.

Fortunately, most construction job injuries don’t result in fatalities. For those injured on the job, medical bills and lost wages can quickly turn into major financial problems after an employer denies a workers’ comp claim. Discuss the matter with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to learn of your legal options. 

Source: Safety.BLR.com, "Final BLS data: Overall fatal injury rate down, but contractor, construction fatalities up," April 30, 2014

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