Contractors Research/studies Construction Construction

Nonfatal injury rate in construction decreases, but still outpaces all other industries

Image: Missouri Department of Transportation

Silver Spring, MD — Despite the construction industry experiencing a nearly 57% drop in the rate of nonfatal worker injuries from 2003 to 2019, its injury rate remained consistently and significantly higher than all other industries combined, including 29.2% higher in 2019, according to a new report from CPWR – The Center for Construction Training and Research.

The report examines 17 years’ worth of data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics via the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses as well as the Current Population Survey. In 2019, the injury rate in construction was 112.3 per 10,000 full-time equivalent workers – down from 259.4 in 2003. From 2011 to 2019, injuries from falls to a lower level jumped 41%, while the number of nonfatal injuries rose 8%.

Risk of injury varied greatly based on the size of construction establishments. The 2019 injury rate among employers with 11 to 49 workers was five times higher than that of establishments with 1,000 or more workers.


Other key findings:

  • Contact with objects or equipment (e.g., excavators, loaders and graders) was the leading cause of nonfatal construction injuries from 2013 to 2019, at 32.8%. In 2019, struck-by incidents resulted in 1 out of 5 nonfatal injuries.
  • Other leading causes of nonfatal injuries over that seven-year period were slips, trips and falls (31.1%), and overexertion/bodily reactions (25.2%).
  • Among construction subsectors, the highest injury rates from 2017 to 2019 were in framing (292.7 per 10,000 FTEs), poured concrete (155.1) and flooring (148.8).
  • At a rate of 150.8 per 10,000 FTEs, the 20-24 age group ranked highest among workers who experienced a nonfatal injury that resulted in days away from work.
  • From 2015 to 2019, average annual injury rates in Montana, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming were at least 60% higher than construction overall.

CPWR highlights its websites that address specific hazards and audiences, as well as a group of infographics for the National Campaign to Prevent Struck-By Incidents, saying the resources “provide users with the latest information, research findings, new tools, solutions, and programs in construction safety and health, and materials to share with other industry stakeholders.”

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