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Construction Workers Vulnerable to Injuries and Premature Death

Construction Workers Vulnerable to Injuries and Premature Death

New research from the Center for Construction Research and Training, affiliated with the AFL-CIO, indicates that almost all construction workers will have at least one work-related injury during their lifetime and are at greater risk of dying prematurely.

Researchers drew from multiple years of data from national sources, including the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. According to CCRT researchers, in a 45-year career, a construction worker has a 75 percent chance of experiencing a disabling injury, and a 1-in-200 chance of a fatal injury on the job.

Furthermore, someone who begins construction work at age 20 and lives until the age of 85 has a 15 percent chance of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and an 11 percent chance of developing dust-related parenchymal chest X-ray changes.

Executive Director of CCRT Pete Stafford said, “While great strides have been made in reducing construction injuries and illnesses, the numbers are still stubbornly high.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for example,  2010 saw 751 deaths in the construction industry, a rate of about four injuries per 100 full time workers.

“Workers and their families suffer the consequences of disabling injuries, and this research shows it’s far too common, said Stafford. “So we must continue to raise awareness of the problems — and hope to see our research findings put to use to reduce construction fatalities, injuries and illnesses.”

In this regard, OSHA has released 12 brief videos about such hazards for construction workers. From two to four minutes long, each video shows how quickly a worker can be injured or killed on the job. The goal is to help identify, reduce and eliminate a variety of construction-based hazards.

OSHA Administrator David Michaels advised “anyone who works in the construction industry or operates a construction business to watch the videos.”

“Every step we take to educate workers about their rights and the safety measures employers must take to protect workers in construction helps avoid preventable injuries and the tragic loss of life,” said Michaels.

Michaels urged employers to organized screenings of the videos for their workers. He also encouraged viewers to post them on their websites.