It’s a sad truth that construction is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. In 2019, the construction industry experienced by far the most work-related deaths with 1,061 — the highest number since 2011 and a 5 percent jump compared with 2018.
Every day, an average of three construction workers die of injuries sustained on the job. The most common fatal construction accidents are (by percentage of total fatalities in 2019):
- Falls from heights (36.4 percent)
- Being struck by a falling or out-of-control object (15.4 percent)
- Electrocution (7.2 percent)
- Getting caught in or between objects, vehicles or equipment, aka crush injuries (5.4 percent)
The number of deadly falls seems to be going up, especially from roofs. According to a report from the Center for Construction Training and Research, in 2018, 114 workers died after falling off a roof. The following year, 146 were killed that specific way. To compare, 92 workers died in roof falls back in 2011. Fatal falls from ladders and scaffolding also went up from 2018 to 2019.
Every number represents a person
Anybody who works construction can potentially die on the job. But the numbers show that both Hispanic and older workers, meaning over 65, were especially vulnerable. Whoever they were, each of the 1,061 who died in 2019 was somebody’s spouse, parent, child or friend. Those who were married or had children left behind loved ones who depended on them for more than income. They provided love, discipline, advice, companionship and more.
In addition to these tragedies, many thousands more American construction workers survive their accidents, only to end up seriously hurt or disabled. Many of these construction injuries happen in the Indianapolis area and leave a local worker unable to work for weeks, months, or longer.