Posted November 28, 2018

Fatal injuries on the rise at small construction firms

Companies with fewer than 20 employees account for 57% of construction fatalities.

The fatality rate of workplace injuries for construction companies with 1-19 employees has been significantly higher than those with 20 or more employees, according to a study published by the Center for Construction Research and Training.

From 2003 to 2016, construction firms with 1-19 employees accounted for 56.6% of all fatal injuries while employing less than 37% of all construction workers.

The problem is getting worse for smaller construction companies. The fatality rate rose 57% for establishments with 1-19 employees from 2008 to 2016, while the rate decreased by about 30% for establishments with 20 or more employees during the same period.

This increasing gulf between large and smaller builder employers has a sharp impact on NAHB members. According to the most recent NAHB member census, 70% of home builders have fewer than 10 employees.

Falls continue to be the most common cause of fatal injury in construction and the category with the largest discrepancy between small firms and large firms: 74.2% of all falling deaths occurred in firms with 1-19 employees.

Most troubling for NAHB members is the fact that the construction subsector with the highest rate of fatal injury among small companies was residential construction. Nearly 78% of fatal injuries in the residential building subsector occurred at establishments with 1-10 employees, a higher percentage than any other subsector, followed by siding contractors (75.7%) and framing contractors (75.0%).

Sources: and