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 18% of worker deaths in the United States are in construction, but construction workers make up only about 5% of the U.S. labor force. This disparity emphasizes the need for a continued push to improve on-the-job safety for those working in the construction industry.
To highlight the importance of construction site safety, we’ve compiled 37 construction safety statistics that offer a clear picture of the state of the industry in 2023.
- 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 37 statistics.
Fatal Construction Industry Statistics
1. Construction has the second most workplace deaths of all industries, behind truck drivers. [BLS]
2. Nearly 1 in 5 deaths among U.S. workers is in the construction industry. [BLS]
3. Fatalities in construction decreased by 2.6% from 2020 to 2021. [BLS]
4. Of the 42 annual crane-related deaths, around 60% involve a falling object. [BLS]
5. A total of 951 construction workers died on the job in 2021. [BLS]
6. Each year, about 1% of construction workers suffer a fatal injury, which is the highest rate in any industry. [BLS]
7. The “Fatal Four” leading causes of construction deaths (falls, struck by equipment, caught between objects and electrocutions) account for over 60% of all construction-related deaths. [OSHA]
8. Falls, slips and trips are the leading cause of death in construction and are responsible for 35% of all work-related deaths — eliminating these accidents in construction would save more than 300 lives every year. [BLS]
9. Fatalities from falls, slips and trips in construction increased by 7.2%, from 345 fatalities in 2020 to 370 in 2021. [BLS]
10. Transportation incidents are the second leading cause of work-related death in construction. [BLS]
11. Struck-by incidents are responsible for 15.4% of work-related deaths in construction. [CDC]
12. Electrocutions are responsible for 7.2% of work-related deaths in construction. [CDC]
13. Caught-in/between accidents are responsible for 5.4% of work-related deaths in construction. [CDC]
14. Frontline supervisors made up 9% of construction deaths in 2020. [BLS]
Non-Fatal Construction Injuries
15. Each year, 1% of construction workers suffer an injury serious enough to miss work. [BLS]
16. The construction industry accounts for 6.8% of all injuries resulting in lost work days. [BLS]
17. In 2021, construction had the sixth-highest rate of all recordable cases of injury and illness in the workplace. [BLS]
18. In 2020, the nonfatal incident rate for falls, trips and slips was higher among construction workers than any other workers. [BLS]
19. More than 25% of construction workers indicate that they have failed to report a work-related injury. [CPWR]
20. In 2020, there were 174,100 cases of injuries in the construction sector. [BLS]
21. Construction workers ages 25-34 were most likely to sustain an injury on the job. [NSC]
Cost of Construction Injuries
22. 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]
23. Total workplace injury costs exceed $170 billion each year. [NSC]
24. Workers’ compensation claims for nonfatal falls account for $2.5 billion annually. [Liberty Mutual]
25. Illness or injuries in construction led to 1.7% decreased productivity. [BLS]
26. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) penalties can cost anywhere from $15,625 to $156,259 for safety violations. [OSHA]
27. 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
28. OSHA estimates that construction companies save $4 to $6 for every $1 invested in safety programs. [OSHA]
29. In 2021, the average cost of a medically consulted injury was $42,000, while the average cost per death was $1.34 million. [NSC]
31. About 62% of construction workers are exposed to heights — but only half (31%) use personal protective equipment (PPE). [BLS]
32. About 60% of construction workers must work near moving parts — and only 3.8% have all associated risks mitigated by their PPE. [BLS]
33. Most construction workers cannot fully mitigate the risk of exposure to harmful contaminants with only PPE. [BLS]
34. 67% of construction workers feel that standards are higher for productivity than for safety. [National Safety Council via EHS Today]
35. 55% of workers believe they need more safety training, and 25% worry about being injured every day. [360 Training]
36. OSHA safety certifications take between 10 and 30 hours to complete and cost between $60 and $180. [OSHA]
37. 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 2023
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 2023, 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.
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.
Once your operators are trained and ready to begin work, contact BigRentz for your equipment rental needs.