One measure of construction workplace safety improved last year, as the industry’s rate of nonfatal injuries and illnesses declined from the 2011 level, the Labor Dept.’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Nov. 7.

In a related development, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration—which also is part of the Labor Dept.—announced the same day that it is proposing to require large employers in all industries to submit workplace injury and illness information electronically to it each quarter.

The latest BLS annual report on workplace injuries and illnesses showed that construction’s 2012 rate declined to 3.7 per 100 full-time workers last year, from 3.9 in 2011.  The information comes from private-industry companies’ reports to BLS.

Construction’s injury-illness rate has gone down annually since at least 2007, when the industry’s mark was 5.4, according to BLS figures.

The number of construction injuries and illnesses also dipped 3.7% in 2012, to 183,200, from 190,200 the previous year.

Looking at construction industry segments, specialty trade contractors recorded a 2012 injury-illness rate of 3.9; buildings construction posted a rate of 3.4; and heavy and civil construction’s rate was 3.2. Each of those three segments’ rates improved from 2011.

Research sponsored by CPWR—the Center for Construction Research and Training indicates that some construction workers do not report injuries because they fear losing safety-program rewards for low levels of lost workdays.

Another construction safety yardstick, the number of workplace fatalities, worsened last year. BLS reported in August that in 2012, construction posted its first annual increase in deaths in six years, with the total rising 5%, to 775.

Construction’s fatality rate also climbed in 2012, to 9.5 per 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers, from 9.1 in 2011.


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