The Bureau of Labor Statistics released some fairly positive news in December: the number of construction workers fatally injured at U.S. job sites dropped slightly in 2021 compared with 2020. But digging deeper into the numbers shows that we still have a long way to go to make construction work safer.
According to BLS, there were 1,015 deaths from construction-related injuries in 2021, of which 986 died at construction sites. The previous year, 1,034 construction workers died, 1,008 of whom were killed at their job sites. These numbers represent a 1.8 percent decline in total fatal incidents and 2.2 percent fewer workplace deaths year-over-year.
Mixed news about construction deaths
This modest decline is good news, though one union leader noted that construction deaths have remained fairly flat over the past five years. However, BLS reports that some types of deadly accidents actually claimed more lives in 2021 than in ’20. Fatal falls went up significantly from 353 to 379, as did electrocutions, which increased from 54 to 75. Meanwhile, the number of deaths caused by getting struck by a piece of equipment or object went down by 13 to 150.
A fatal construction accident can be devastating for the deceased’s family. But even though most construction workers survive when caught in a workplace accident, their injuries can still affect every part of their lives. A serious injury can cause a permanent or long-term disability. The worker could be left unable to work for months, maybe years. Their families might have little or no other sources of income, putting everyone at risk of losing their home and other hardships.
Workers’ comp helps injured Colquitt County construction workers
Fortunately, workers’ compensation can help. Workers’ comp can make up for most of your lost income and pay your medical bills. No family should face financial ruin over a work-related injury.