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Construction deaths down, but more needs to be done

Construction workers in Georgia face many risks while they are on the job, and they have a greater risk of suffering serious injuries or fatalities in workplace accidents. A recent report revealed that construction workplace fatalities decreased by 2 percent in 2017. However, the number of workers who were killed in 2017 was still higher than the numbers in 2013 and 2014.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were 971 construction workplace fatalities in 2017. The fatality rate fell to 9.5 deaths per 100,000 workers, which was down from 10.1 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2015 and 2016. While there were some improvements, construction-related jobs still had a much higher fatality rate than the industry average, and certain categories of construction jobs had even higher rates.

In 2017, roofers had a fatality rate of 45.2 deaths per 100,000 people, and iron and structural steel workers had a fatality rate of 33.4 deaths per 100,000 people. In the building construction sector, the number of fatalities in 2017 rose by 8 percent with 196 deaths. Workplace deaths in the civil engineering sector declined by 4 percent.

More can be done to reduce the number of work-related deaths in the construction industry. Policymakers can take a closer look at the construction sectors with the highest fatality rates to identify problematic practices that can lead to higher fatality risks. Employers should implement strong safety policies and procedures and make certain that they provide their workers with training and appropriate safety gear. Workers should always follow the safety protocols that have been established by their employers and the regulations that have been issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Even when precautions are taken, accidents can occur. Workers who are seriously injured and the families of workers who are killed might want to talk to workers' compensation attorneys about the recovery rights that they have.

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