Overall, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report (August 25, 2005), 1,224 construction workers were killed in 2004, about 11.9 for every 100,000 workers. More workers died in construction than in any other industrial sector.

Fatal injuries in construction rose eight percent in 2004. However, because of employment increases in the industry, the fatality rate remained about the same as in 2003.

Most of the increase in construction fatalities occurred among specialty trade contractors. The greatest increase among construction occupations was roofers where the total rose from 55 in 2003 to 94 in 2004, nearly half the increase in all construction occupations. The rise in roofer fatalities is also reflected in the 17 percent increase in fatal falls to 815, the highest annual total ever reported (the series began in 1992). Fatal falls from ladders also were an all-time high.

Of the total construction fatalities, 293 were construction laborers, almost 24 percent. The cause of these deaths is detailed below.

Construction Laborer Fatalities in 2004
Total Fatalities (293)100%
Highway (in vehicle, mobile equipment)8.9%
Struck-by vehicle, mobile equipment11.3%
Contact by Object31.7%
Struck by falling object11.6%
Struck by other objects5.4%
Caught in or compressed by objects3.1%
Caught in trench cave-in7.2%
Caught in other collapsing materials5.4%
From ladder4.8%
From roof8.9%
From scaffold6.8%
Other falls9.9%
Exposure to Harmful Substances12.6%
Electric current7.2%

[Steve Clark]