AGC study identifies key safety stats, offers steps to avoid job site incidents
- The Associated General Contractors of America has released the results of a three-year study of construction fatalities from 2010 to 2012 and said the findings both confirm and contradict longstanding industry safety beliefs.
- The study, conducted in collaboration with the Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech University, confirmed some currently held views, including the fact that specialty trades have higher rates of safety incidents, 33% of construction fatalities are fall-related and most construction fatalities occur in the South and in the summer months.
- The study also reported that, contrary to many other reports, Hispanics do not represent a largely disproportionate share of construction fatalities. The AGC found that the 24% Hispanic construction workforce represented 25% of industry fatalities. Additionally, researchers determined that the smallest businesses had a 47% share of total fatalities and that the noon hour was when accidents were most likely to happen.
In New York City, a large portion of uproar over safety has revolved around what many have characterized as an increased fatality rate among immigrant workers, which includes a high percentage of Latinos. As a result of the focus on safety, the New York City Council has suggested new safety regulations, including a controversial requirement that all construction workers on buildings taller than 10 stories complete an apprenticeship program.
Safety activists refer to a November 2015 New York Times investigation that determined immigrant worker deaths in the city were disproportionately higher than those for the overall construction workforce. The language barrier and lack of training were thought to have contributed to a 32% increase in Hispanic or Latino immigrant construction worker deaths between 2010 and 2014. The gap between the AGC study's results and other reports could involve the fact that the AGC study tracked an earlier period of time — 2010 to 2012.
Another surprising result was that accidents peaked at noon, even though employers have been told in the past that their workers were most vulnerable to accidents in the morning hours. Due to these results, the AGC is advising employers to hold safety talks after the noon lunch hour on job sites.
Safety is an ongoing concern for construction, as it is one of the most dangerous industries in the U.S. Between 2014 and 2015, fatalities in the private construction industry rose 4%, from 899 to 927, according to a December Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Those preliminary figures found the number of construction workplace fatalities in 2015 was the highest since 2008.
- Associated General Contractors of America CONSTRUCTION ASSOCIATION UNVEILS STEPS TO IMPROVE WORKER SAFETY AS 239 OUT OF 358 METRO AREAS ADD CONSTRUCTION JOBS DURING PAST 12 MONTHS
- Associated General Contractors of America Preventing Fatalities in the Construction Industry
Follow Kim Slowey on Twitter