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Fatality rates increasing for small construction companies

A recent report from the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) shows construction companies with fewer than 20 employees have experienced an increase in worker fatality rates as larger companies have seen rates fall, according to www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com.

In 2016, 81.6 percent of all companies had fewer than 10 employees, and an additional 9.4 percent had 10 to 19 employees. The CPWR report says these employers "may face many barriers to implementing health and safety programs, such as limited resources and increasing pressures from business competition."

From 2008 to 2016, the fatal injury rate for small construction companies increased from 15.5 to 24.4 per 100,000 wage-and-salary workers, surging 57 percent. Meanwhile, companies with 20 or more workers experienced a nearly 30 percent drop in worker fatality rates.

In 2016, 67.2 percent of construction fatalities occurred in organizations with fewer than 20 employees.

From 2003 to 2016, companies with fewer than 20 employees accounted for 56.6 percent of the industry's 5,155 fatalities; this data is considered concerning because smaller companies employed nearly 37 percent of all construction workers during the time the study was conducted.

Fall-related fatalities and electrocutions reportedly were more prominent among smaller companies. From 2011 to 2016, nearly 62 percent of all fall-related fatalities and 55.6 percent of electrocutions occurred in small companies. Overall, 48 percent of all construction fatalities were in organizations with fewer than 10 employees.

To help smaller employers, CPWR offers the online Safety Climate Assessment Tool for Small Contractors, as well as printable resources, such as hazard alert cards and toolbox talks. For more information, click here.


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