Certain statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (B.L.S.) of the U.S. Department of Labor preliminary results of its 2009 National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries warrant more attention than in our last blog post. The study contains specific tables analyzing fatal falls by the type of falls, fatal work injuries in the private construction industry by the type of work being performed, and the demographic relationship between workers and fatalities.
Fatal falls by type of falls: From ladder – 20% From roof – 18% On same level 13% From nonmoving vehicle 12% From scaffold, staging 9% From floor, dock or ground level 5% From building girders or structural steel 3% Down stairs or steps 3% Other or unknown 17% The total number of fatal work injuries in the private construction industry fell in 2009 to 816 from 975 in 2008. However, the distribution of fatal work injuries by selected occupations in the private construction industry showed an increase for more heavy-duty work in 2009 as compared to 2008.
Increases were seen for construction laborers (22% to 25%), first-line supervisors/managers of construction trades and extraction workers (9% to 12%), carpenters (7% to 9%), and electricians (5% to 7%). Fatal injuries to roofers remained at 7%. Decreases were seen for construction equipment operators (6% to 4%), construction managers (6% to 3%), painters, construction and maintenance (5% to 3%), and truck drivers, heavy and tractor-trailer (4% to 3%). Good news for Hispanic workers is that their historic disparity in suffering many fatalities as compared to workers overall narrowed significantly in the 2009 statistics.
In its annual census of fatal workplace injuries for 2006, the B.L.S. found that the fatality rate for Hispanics was 30 percent higher than for the overall work force. That disparity dropped to 12% in 2009. According to the B.L.S., the fatality rate for Hispanic workers dropped 30% in 2009 compared to 2006. The rate was 3.7 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers in 2009, down from 5.3 per 100,000 in 2006. For the overall work force, the fatality rate from workplace injuries was 3.3 per 100,000 in 2009.