25 Construction Safety Statistics for 2021
Despite advances in construction safety equipment, technology and training, the construction industry continues to face high rates of fatal and non-fatal injuries and accidents among its workers.
For example, 20 percent of worker deaths in the United States are in construction, but construction workers make up only 6 percent of the U.S. labor force. This disparity highlights the need for a continued push to improve safety on the job for those working in the construction industry.
To highlight the importance of construction site safety, we’ve compiled 25 construction safety statistics that offer a clear picture of the state of the industry in 2021.
- Fatal Construction Injuries
- Non-Fatal Construction Injuries
- Cost of Construction Injuries
- Safety Training Statistics
Click on one of the links above to jump to a specific section, or read on to see all 25 statistics.
Fatal Construction Industry Statistics
1. One in five deaths among U.S. workers is in the construction industry. [OSHA]
2. Of the 42 annual crane-related deaths, around 60 percent involve a falling object. [BLS]
3. A total of 1,061 construction workers died on the job in 2019. [BLS]
4. Each year, 9.7 of every 100,000 construction workers suffer a fatal injury, which is the fourth-highest rate of any industry. [BLS]
5. Falls account for 33% of all construction deaths, and eliminating falls in construction would save more than 300 lives every year. [BLS]
6. The “Fatal Four” leading causes of construction deaths (falls, struck by equipment, caught in between, and electrocutions) account for over 60 percent of all construction-related deaths. [OSHA]
Non-Fatal Construction Injuries
7. Each year, 1.7 percent of construction workers suffer an injury serious enough that they miss work. [BLS]
8. The construction industry accounts for 8.5% of all injuries that result in lost days of work. [BLS]
9. Injury rates in construction are 71% higher than injury rates across all industries on average. [NIH]
10. More than 25 percent of construction workers indicate that they had failed to report a work-related injury. [CPWR]
11. In 2018, there were 195,600 cases of injuries in the construction sector. [BLS]
12. In 2019, construction workers ages 25-34 were most likely to sustain an injury on the job. [NSC]
Cost of Construction Injuries
13. Fatal construction injuries are estimated to cost the United States $5 billion each year in health care, lost income, reduced quality of life, and lost production. [Midwest EPI]
14. The total annual cost of all construction injuries in the United States is more than $11.5 billion. [NIH]
15. Workers’ compensation claims for non-fatal falls account for $2.5 billion annually. [Liberty Mutual]
16. More than 130,000 construction workers missed days of work due to injuries in 2019, decreasing productivity. [BLS]
17. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) penalties can cost from $13,653 to $136,532 for safety violations. [OSHA]
18. The highest-recorded OSHA penalty in 2019 was levied against Purvis Home Improvement Co. Inc: $1,792,726 in fines for violations related to a fatal fall. [OSHA]
Safety Training Statistics
19. OSHA estimates that construction companies save $4 to $6 for every $1 invested in safety programs. [OSHA]
20. In 2019, the average cost of a medically consulted injury was $42,000, while the average cost per death was $1,220,000. [NSC]
22. 67 percent of construction workers feel that standards are higher for productivity than for safety. [EHS Today]
23. 55 percent of workers believe they need more safety training, and 25 percent worry about being injured every day. [360 Training]
24. OSHA safety certifications take between 10 and 30 hours to complete and cost between $60 and $180 dollars. [OSHA]
25. Over 60 percent of construction accidents occur within an employee’s first year of work, highlighting the need for proactive, high-quality training. [BLS]
The State of Construction Safety in 2021
Construction safety continues to evolve, and improvements in equipment and wearable technology have helped push the industry forward. Still, a renewed commitment to safety and training is essential in 2021 given the number of preventable injuries and deaths in the industry each year.
Doubling down on safety requires investment in proper education for workers. For example, techniques like “3 points of contact” help reduce falls, which are the leading cause of death and injury among construction workers. Meanwhile, a proper understanding of equipment—like aerial lifts or cranes—is vital to avoid accidents involving falling objects or collisions. Finally, improvement in communication—whether with an overarching safety plan, or specialized communication like hand signals—has a measurable effect on safety.
In 2021, focus on personal protective equipment has skyrocketed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Early research suggests that construction workers are five times more likely than the general public to contract COVID-19, adding to the list of risks that they take to provide an essential service in building new structures. As with all other dangers faced by construction workers, the proper response involves increased awareness, training, regulation, and equipment.
Putting safety first is key in helping to reduce the high rate of injuries in the construction industry, and companies who put safety first save money over time. Everyone benefits from fostering a culture of safety on the construction site, so don’t delay in reviewing your safety protocols now.