The construction industry accounted for the most job-related
deaths last year, but the odds of such fatalities pale in comparison to other
industries, according to an annual Department of Labor report released today.
The department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said 5,703 fatal
work injuries occurred in 2006, down slightly from 2005. The wide-ranging
construction industry accounted for the largest numbers - 1,226 deaths or 22
percent of the total and 3 percent over the 2005 figures.
Fatalities among specialty trades contractors rose 6 percent
to 721 in 2006, primarily due to increases in deaths among building finishing
contractors and roofers. Construction laborers accounted for the highest number
of these deaths. Fatalities among electricians, roofers, painters and drywall
and ceiling tile installers all increased. Fatalities, however, among plumbers,
pipefitters and steamfitters dropped. Fatalities in building construction and
in heavy and civil engineering work also decreased.
From the perspective of fatality rates, the category of
“structural iron and steel workers,” came in as the country’s fourth most
dangerous job, with a rate of 61 deaths per 100,000 workers. The most dangerous
job, however, is a commercial fisherman, with a fatality rate of 141.7 deaths
per 100,000 workers.
Also, keep in mind that work fatalities don’t happen so much
on the job as on the road. Highway incidents rank as the most frequent type of
work-related fatalities. One of out four fatal work injuries occurred last year
while driving. That number, however, is the lowest tally since 1993.
Top 10 dangerous jobs
The occupations with the highest fatality rates in
Occupation and Deaths per 100,000 workers
Structural iron and steel workers: 61.0
Refuse collectors: 41.8
Farmers and ranchers: 37.1
Power linemen: 34.9
Agricultural workers: 21.7
Source: Bureau of Labor