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How Many Construction Workers Die on Average Each Year?



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Construction accident statistics clearly demonstrate that construction worksites are dangerous places. They are frequently the location of fatal accidents with all manner of causes.

Increasing regulatory oversight and stiff penalties for safety violations have helped reduce accidents over the years. However, construction site deaths remain common. For the past few years, annual deaths in the industry have been at or near 1000.

What Are Common Causes of Fatal Construction Accidents?

In the construction industry, a sizable percentage of all fatal accidents can be attributed to the big four: falls, struck-by, electrocutions, and caught-in/between.


Falls are the top cause of construction fatalities. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 401 of 1,102 construction site deaths were caused by falls in 2019. The problem has plagued the industry for years.

In an attempt to combat this deadly issue, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in conjunction with other safety agencies, launched a National Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction in 2012. It continues to this day, as falls still lead in the causes of lethality.

Being Struck

Construction workers face the danger of being struck by all manner of objects and equipment. The object may fall onto the worker or strike the worker from the side. Typical occurrences include:

  • Hit by a car
  • Hit by a flying tool
  • Hit by a tool or equipment operated by another worker
  • Hit by falling equipment or building materials

Workers may also accidentally strike themselves with an object, such as a tool escaping their control. In 2019, 15.4% of deaths (170) were caused by the worker being struck.


Electrocution caused around 7% (79) of the deaths in 2019. Faulty and exposed wiring are often the culprits. Defective or improperly functioning tools and equipment have also led to electrocution.

Catching in Machinery or Vehicles

Construction workers sometimes get trapped inside equipment or spaces and perish. They may also become caught between vehicles and walls or the ground.

These accidents produce crushing injuries and are often fatal. In 2019, 5.4% (59) of the construction deaths were caused in this manner.

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Construction Accident Death Claims

Construction deaths are devastating and preventable. Unfortunately, each year sees around 1,000 tragic deaths at construction sites. Survivors who have lost someone may be able to seek compensation for their losses due to the death.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

If you are the surviving spouse or a dependent of the construction worker, you may be entitled to a weekly benefit payment. The amount of this payment is ⅔ of the average weekly pay of the worker who has died (based on the 52 weeks of paychecks prior to the accident).

Workers’ compensation also covers funeral expenses. The payout limit for this benefit depends on which county you live in. In the Bronx, the maximum payout for funeral expenses is $12,500.

Wrongful Death Claims

In addition to workers’ compensation benefits, surviving family members may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death claim. Third parties whose negligence caused or contributed to the death can be held liable for damages.

For example, contractors, construction equipment manufacturers, vehicle and machine rental companies, and property owners may be liable for damages if they were negligent or reckless.

A wrongful death attorney experienced in construction cases is essential for the success of any wrongful death claim. Without one, you may be leaving a significant amount of much-needed compensation on the table.