Construction work is a physically demanding and potentially hazardous industry, with workers exposed to various risks on a daily basis.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for New Jersey provides valuable insight as to why it is so important to prioritize safety measures for construction workers in the state.
1. Increase in fatal work injuries
According to the BLS report, New Jersey witnessed an increase in fatal work injuries in 2020 from the previous year. The data reveals that construction and extraction occupations had 22 workplace fatalities – more than any other occupation. Private construction had 16 fatalities, making it the highest industry for fatalities in the state.
These incidents highlight the need to address safety concerns and implement measures to protect construction workers from life-threatening hazards.
2. High proportion of fatal falls
Falls continue to be a leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry. Out of the 16 fatal construction work injuries in New Jersey, falls accounted for 7 of the cases in 2020, which is more than 43%. This statistic underscores the pressing need to address fall hazards, such as inadequate fall protection, unstable work surfaces and improper use of ladders or scaffolds, through comprehensive safety measures and increased awareness.
3. Specialty contractors’ specifics
Approximately 69% of fatal injuries for construction workers were for contractors working in specialty trades. General contractors had a much lower rate of fatality.
4. Building exterior contractors
Of the 11 specialty trade workers with fatal injuries, 36% were from the structure, foundation and building exterior specialties. This group made up 25% of all construction worker fatalities.
5. High rate of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses
In 2020, New Jersey’s construction industry reported nonfatal injuries and illnesses at a rate of 2.1 cases per 100 full-time equivalent workers. The construction industry had a higher rate of nonfatal injuries and illnesses when compared to the overall private industries in the state. This disparity emphasizes the need for targeted safety training, effective hazard identification and risk mitigation practices to reduce the occurrence of injuries and protect the well-being of construction workers.
Construction accidents can have far-reaching consequences, impacting not only the workers but also their families. Understanding the impact of these incidents reinforces the need for the construction industry to be proactive in preventing accidents and safeguarding the welfare of workers.