Construction Safety

The construction industry has high occupational injuries, illnesses, and deaths as most tasks require high physical ability. The cases of fatal injuries in construction occupations surged from 924 (19.10%) in 2015 to 1,066 (19.99%) in 2019, recording the highest number of fatalities in the private construction industry since 2007 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020). In 2019, the most common fatal injuries in construction were falls, slips, and trips (38.27%), followed by transportation incidents (23.64%), exposure to harmful substances or environments (15.85%), contact with objects and equipment (15.20%), violence and other injuries by persons and animals (5.44%), and fires and explosions (1.13%) (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019b). The situation is similar with nonfatal injuries and illnesses; 195.6 thousand cases of injuries and 2.6 thousand cases of illnesses were reported, which showed an incident rate of 3.0 per 100 full-time workers in the construction industry by the private sector in 2018 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019a).

A report by the United Nations indicates that in 2015, there were approximately 66.5 million people aged 60 and over in the U.S., accounting for 20.7 percent of the U.S. population. As the number of aging workers increases in the construction industry, their injuries appear to be more severe than those of younger workers, and it is becoming necessary to take a proactive approach to injuries and illnesses of older workers. In this regard, non-fatal injuries and illnesses among the aging workforce in the construction industry have not received the attention necessary to understand and address this issue.


  • Yang, E., & Nie, Y. (2018). An aging workforce and work environment: A hotel case study in China. Journal of Facility Management Education and Research, 1(2), 59-64.
  • Yang, E., Kim, Y., Hong, S., & Manoosingh, C. (2018). Aging workforce and their safety and health concerns in the construction industry. Proceedings of the 54th Associated Schools of Construction Annual International Conference (pp. 322-329). Minneapolis, MN.