Published On: Wed, Apr 12th, 2017

AGC Report Finds 47% of Fatalities Occur at Small Construction Establishments

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) released a report on fatalities in the construction industry. The 30 page report is designed to provide construction industry professionals with information to prevent fatalities in the workplace.

Data studied helps paint a clear picture of the construction industry and finds that small construction companies, lacking proper safety standards, account for 47% of fatalities in the industry. Small establishments are companies with 1 – 9 employees. The rate of fatalities in smaller companies is 26 per 100,000 workers.

Previous studies ignored small companies.

Peak accidents occur around noon with the most fatalities noted in the early work hours between 9 am and 1 pm. Accidents due to workplace violence, transportation and animals increased while fatalities due to harmful substances and fires decreased.

photo David Peña via pixabay

AGC’s study found that vehicular operation was the main reason for work zone fatalities. Between 2010 and 2012, the study found that 20% of fatality victims were Hispanic while 24% of the workforce were of Hispanic descent. The finding contradicts previous reports that suggest Hispanics have a higher proportion of fatalities at construction facilities.

Findings consistent with previous studies found that Specialty Trades account for 56% of deaths in the industry. The highest annual deaths occur in the South region which employs the most workers. The death rate in the region is 17 per 100,000 employees with 46% of all construction fatalities occurring in the region.

Spring and Summer months account for the highest fatalities while the slower December season accounts for just 5% of deaths.

The majority of deaths (75%) occur between Monday and Thursday. Construction activities account for 49% of fatalities with the most construction deaths resulting from falls (33%). Deaths among workers 35 years of age and older increased per year according to the study with a peak around age 65.

Hispanic workers account for 25% of deaths in the industry and make up 24% of the workforce.

Construction accidents between 2010 and 2012 accounted for 2,338 deaths, or 17% across all industries. The AGC recommends that contractors work alongside their specialty sub-contractors to ensure that proper safety measures and procedures are put in place. Specialty trades are often sub-contracted to small construction companies.

Controls and corporate safety culture are recommended transfers to sub-contractors to reduce deaths in the industry.

OSHA’s “Water. Rest. Shade” guidance is recommended to contractors during the spring and summer months when deaths are higher. The AGC recommends seasonal safety measures be put in place during hotter months. Water accessibility to workers is one recommendation with hourly drink recommendations of 4 cups of water.

Buddy systems during the hotter months is advised.

Falls remain the main cause of death among construction workers. The findings indicate fall prevention measures need to go beyond current standards. Design evaluation is one recommendation from the AGC to help reduce the number of falls on job sites.

The report further recommends that workers 65 and older be reassigned to field work assignments due to a higher risk of death.

Communication, training and further safety measures are recommended in the report, published April 2017.

Author: Jacob Maslow

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