On Dec. 16, 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries report for 2021, which showed the construction industry had 1,015 fatal injuries for the year—down 1.8% from 1,034 fatal injuries in 2020, according to enr.com. Another metric shows construction workplace deaths declined to 986 in 2021 from 1,008 in 2020—a 2.2% decrease.
Additionally, the industry’s 2021 fatal injury rate fell to 9.1 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers from 10 in 2020. The fatal injury rate is viewed as a key safety indicator because it adjusts for yearly changes in the overall number of workers and amount of construction work.
“There is a temptation to see a decline in the fatality numbers as something to celebrate,” said Brian Turmail, Associated General Contractors of America vice president of public affairs and strategic initiatives, in an email to Engineering News-Record. “It isn’t. There is nothing acceptable about over 1,000 people losing their lives in our industry.”
Overall, BLS reported the total number of fatal occupational injuries in the U.S. was up 8.9%, rising from 4,764 in 2020 to 5,190 in 2021. The national work fatality rate rose to 3.6 per 1,000 full-time employees in 2021 from 3.4 in 2020.