Construction Industry has Second Most Fatalities in California

Feb. 7, 2019

A report from the California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) examines the number of fatal workplace deaths in 2017 and over the five-year period before. Although the number of fatalities overall remained the same in the state from 2016 to 2017, the number of fatalities linked to construction and extraction increased dramatically in that same period, highlighting how dangerous the construction industry is for workers.

At Cutter Law, we’re proud to fight for the rights of construction workers whose lives are put at risk due to the many hazards they face on the job. We’re committed to holding companies accountable for fatal construction accidents and construction injuries and fight tirelessly to ensure injured workers receive the compensation they’re entitled to.

More than 300 Construction Fatalities Over Five-Year Period

According to Cal/OSHA, the construction industry had the second highest number of fatalities from 2013-2017 with 309 overall, behind the trade, transportation, and utilities industry. In 2017 alone, there were 69 fatalities in construction, 32 of which involved falls, trips, or slips and 15 of which involved transportation incidents. In the 2013-2017 period included in Cal/OHSA’s report, the construction industry made up 17 percent of all fatal occupational injuries.

Overall, the fatal construction injury rate outpaces the total industry. While the rate of fatalities in all industry is around 2.2 per 100,000 full-time workers, the construction industry rate is almost 6 deaths per 100,000 workers.

Furthermore, between 2016 and 2017 the number of fatal construction injuries grew from around 50 to almost 70. Broken down by occupation, construction and extraction had 16 percent of fatal injuries from 2013-2017—a total of 307 fatalities—with the number of fatal injuries in those occupations increasing from 54 in 2016 to 71 in 2017.

Nationally, according to the Department of Labor, the number of fatal construction injuries dropped from 970 in 2016 to 965 in 2017. Meanwhile, the fatality rate in 2017 was 12.2 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.

First Year of Work Dangerous for Construction Workers

Cal/OSHA also released its survey of non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses. The agency found that 43 percent of construction workers who suffered an on-the-job injury were in their first year of work. When taking into account injuries or illnesses that resulted in days away from work in the private sector, construction and extraction occupations combined for an incidence rate of 246.4 workers per 10,000 full-time equivalent employees. That rate was second highest, following only building and grounds maintenance.

California Construction Fatalities Still too Common

California construction workers face an unacceptably high risk of death or serious injury. The hazards of their work—such as working at heights and around heavy machinery—combined with companies that may not place an emphasis on worker safety, mean that all too often construction workers suffer devastating harm. Already in 2019, a construction worker died on the job after he fell 35 feet from an Amazon fulfillment center being constructed in Bakersfield.

Brien James Daunt was pronounced dead at the scene on Jan. 12. Cal/OHSA is investigating what caused Daunt to fall.

Falls are among the leading causes of construction fatalities, along with struck-by-object incidents, electrocutions, and caught-in/between accidents. Nationally in 2017, 381 of 971 construction deaths were linked to falls, while 80 were linked to situations where the worker was struck by an object.

California Construction Injury Attorneys

Attorneys at Cutter Law have a proven record of successfully advocating for construction workers who suffer injury or illness on the job. Our attorneys prepare the strongest claim possible, including conducting a thorough investigation, interviewing witnesses and hiring experts where necessary to maximize our clients’ compensation.

We know how risky construction work is, and we fight hard to make sure construction companies uphold safety standards to protect their employees.

If you or a loved one has suffered a construction injury, you deserve an attorney who won’t back down against insurance companies or construction contractors and who won’t settle for less than you deserve.

Contact a California construction injury lawyer at Cutter Law for a no-obligation consultation.

Personal injury and civil justice attorney Brooks Cutter is a leading advocate for consumer justice and protecting the rights of the severely injured. Brooks founded Cutter Law, P.C., with offices in Sacramento and Oakland, with…
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