According to a recent report, the construction industry had the second most worker fatalities in California, at 464, for the 2013 to 2019 period. Only the trade, transportation and utilities industries had more deaths.
What makes the construction industry so dangerous?
In 2018, 29 fatalities occurred due to slips, trips and falls and transportation incidents caused 16 deaths. In 2019, 35 deaths happened due to slips, trips and falls, 17 happened in transportation incidents and contacts with objects and equipment caused 13 deaths. The fatality rate for the construction industry was 7 per 100,000 workers, compared to 2.3 per 100,000 for all workers. About 66 construction workers die every year.
In 2019 falls caused the most deaths, at 75. Contact with objects caused 15 deaths, exposure to hazardous environments caused 11 and transportation accidents caused 9.
Working on roofs, ladders, scaffolding and other high places is the main reason falls are the leading cause of construction worker deaths. The dust workers encounter from demolishing buildings and other materials contribute to hazardous environment deaths. The operation of dangerous equipment and tools leads to deaths caused by contact with objects and equipment and the need to move materials around and travel between sites leads to transportation deaths.
Workers’ compensation provides coverage for workplace fatalities. However, there are often third parties, such as subcontractors or equipment manufacturers, involved who may be liable for damages.
Families of construction workers killed on the job may pursue recovery from at-fault parties in addition to workers’ compensation benefits.