Despite advances in construction safety equipment, technology and training, the construction industry continues to face high rates of fatal and nonfatal injuries and accidents among its workers.
For example, roughly 20% of worker deaths in the United States are in construction, but construction workers make up only 6% of the U.S. labor force. This disparity emphasizes 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 2022.
- 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. 1 in 5 deaths among U.S. workers is in the construction industry. [OSHA]
2. Of the 42 annual crane-related deaths, around 60% involve a falling object. [BLS]
3. A total of 1,008 construction workers died on the job in 2020. [BLS]
4. Each year, 10.2 of every 100,000 construction workers suffer a fatal injury, which is the third highest rate of any industry. [BLS]
5. Falls account for 34% of all construction deaths — 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 objects and electrocutions) account for over 60% of all construction-related deaths. [OSHA]
Non-Fatal Construction Injuries
7. Each year, 1.1% of construction workers suffer an injury serious enough that they miss work. [BLS]
8. The construction industry accounts for 6% of all injuries that result in lost days of work. [BLS]
9. Injury and illness rates in construction were 24% higher than they were across all industries on average in 2020. [BLS]
10. More than 25% of construction workers indicate that they have failed to report a work-related injury. [CPWR]
11. In 2020, there were 174,100 cases of injuries in the construction sector. [BLS]
12. 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 for family members and lost production. [Midwest EPI]
14. Total workplace injury costs exceed $170 billion each year. [NSC]
15. Workers’ compensation claims for nonfatal falls account for $2.5 billion annually. [Liberty Mutual]
16. More than 130,000 construction workers missed days of work due to illness or injuries in 2020, decreasing productivity. [BLS]
17. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) penalties can cost anywhere from $13,653 to $136,532 for safety violations. [OSHA]
18. One of the highest proposed fines for safety violations in 2021 was $1.2 million levied against Allways Roofing in Washington. [U.S. News]
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 $1.22 million. [NSC]
21. On average, construction companies spend 3.6% of their budgets on injuries, but only 2.6% on safety training. [National Funding/ELCOSH]
22. 67% of construction workers feel that standards are higher for productivity than for safety. [National Safety Council via EHS Today]
23. 55% of workers believe they need more safety training, and 25% 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. [OSHA]
25. Over 60% 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 2022
Construction safety continues to evolve, and improvements in equipment and wearable technology are helping push the industry forward. Still, a renewed commitment to safety and training is essential in 2022, 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 three 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 it’s an overarching safety plan or specialized communication like hand signals — has a measurable effect on safety.
Over the past two years, the focus on protective equipment skyrocketed due to the pandemic. Early research suggested that construction workers were five times more likely than the general public to contract COVID-19, and new variants have added to that risk as workers provide an essential service in building new structures. As with all other dangers construction workers face, the proper response involves continued 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.