Construction Workers Experience Significant Lifetime Risk

Construction workers experience significant lifetime risk of occupational injury and premature death. Nearly all construction workers will experience one or more work related injuries or illnesses over a lifetime plus a greater risk of premature death, according to data released by the American Public Health Association.

Using multiple years of data from several national sources, including the Census of Fatal Injuries, researchers from the Center for Construction Research and Training estimate that over a 45 year career, a construction worker has a 75% likelihood of experience a disabling injury. Additionally, over the course of the career, the same worker has a 1 in 200 chance of being fatally injured on the job. A Hispanic worker has a 20% higher likelihood of dying from a work related injury.

The study also reveals that an individual who begins construction work at the age of 20 has a 15% chance of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease over a lifetime and then 11% chance of developing dust-related parenchymal chest x-ray changes. As Pete Stafford, director of CPWR, commented, “Workers and their families suffer the consequences of disabling injuries, and this research shows its far too common. So I must continue to raise awareness of the problems – and hope to see research findings to put to use to reduce construction fatalities, injuries and illnesses.

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