Construction Safety: The Industry at a Glance

An understanding of trends in construction employment and on-the-job safety will help you grasp the context in which a construction accident claim will be presented and considered. Being aware of this context is important if you or an employee have been injured in a construction accident. Read on to learn more about construction employment trends, safety requirements, workers compensation claims, and more.

Construction Employment Trends

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, approximately 6 million people work in the construction industry, or a total of about 4% of the nation's work force. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is the Department of Labor division that keeps detailed records of employment trends.

The June 2014 unemployment rate for construction workers was 8.2 percent. Historically, from 1991 to 2001, the unemployment rate in the construction industry rose to 16.8 percent in 1992, and fell to 6.4 percent in 2000, before increasing to 7.3 percent in 2001. The overall unemployment rate in 2001 was 4.8 percent. There were 771 extended mass layoffs in the construction industry in 2001.

The construction industry as a whole is projected to grow to about 7.4 million in 2022, about a 21% change from the 2012 employment levels. Employment projections for the construction industry in 2010 indicate that employment in the industry will grow at a rate of 1.2 percent, somewhat more slowly than the 1.4 percent rate for the economy as a whole.

In April 2014, the average:

  • Hourly earnings of workers in construction were $26.59. In comparison, that same month, the average hourly earnings of all workers nationwide was $24.33.
  • Workweek in the construction industry was 39.1 hours.

Construction Injuries and Safety On The Job

Construction sites have significant safety hazards that can result in serious on-the-job injuries. Of the 4,175 worker fatalities in 2012, 806 deaths or 19.3% were in construction. Over half of these deaths were caused by four factors:

  • Falls – 279 of 806 total deaths in construction in 2012 (34.6%)
  • Struck by an Object – 79 deaths (9.8%)
  • Electrocutions – 66 deaths (8.1%)
  • Caught-in/between – 13 deaths (1.6%)

In addition, construction workers face higher rates of nonfatal injury than many workers. Construction laborers had the 7th highest rate of nonfatal injury and illness that required days away from work of all occupations at 382 per 10,000 full-time workers. Of the 3.3 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses reported in 2009, more than 9% were experienced by construction workers. Falls accounted for 22% of these injuries and illnesses.

Workers Compensation Claims by Construction Industry Employees

With these hazards and injuries to workers, workers compensation claims are also frequent in the construction industry. For example, in 2005-2007, the average workers’ compensation claims costs for a fall from an elevation in all industries was about $50,383. However, for roofers and carpenters in the construction industry, the average claim was much higher. For carpenters, the average cost was $97,169 and for roofers the average cost was $106,648. The approximate cost per year for falls from elevations by roofers was approximately $54 million and for carpenters was approximately $93 million per year. Lost time claims averaged over $106,000 for roofers and $97,000 for carpenters.

Get a Free Initial Claim Review

Your legal claim may involve complex issues concerning party liability, compliance with safety regulations, engineering, and indemnity. If you think that someone was at fault in a construction accident you were involved in, you should have an attorney provide a free initial review of the facts of your claim as soon as possible. An attorney who is experienced in the area of construction accident liability will make sure that you receive the legal remedy to which you are entitled.