Report estimates cost of construction injuries, fatalities in Washington

Washington, D.C. – Construction-related injuries and fatalities cost the state of Washington $762 million between 2008 and 2010, according to a new report (.pdf file) from advocacy group Public Citizen.

Released Oct. 23, the report noted that Washington state – which runs its own occupational safety and health program – reported 39 construction-related deaths and 37,400 injuries from 2008 to 2010.

Safety is not included in the state’s prequalification system, which is a screening process that considers various factors in awarding construction contracts. Public Citizen suggests that requiring companies to show they provide safety training and do not have major violations would help reduce injuries.

“The economic picture we came up with is quite staggering,” Keith Wrightson, worker safety and health advocate for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, said in a press release. “Implementing a prequalification process for public construction projects would not address all of the industry’s safety problems. However, such a positive step could yield significant gains to the economy for minimal costs.”

The report follows a Public Citizen report released in August that reached similar conclusions about construction-related injuries in Maryland.

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