RoofingAfter five consecutive years of decreases, construction deaths rose five percent last year, propelling the construction industry into the top spot in terms of work-related fatalities per industry in 2012. However, when measured by deaths per 100,000 full-time workers construction ranks behind agriculture/forestry/fishing/hunting and mining/quarrying/oil and gas extraction and transportation/warehousing – according to preliminary data released recently by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the BLS’ National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, there were 775 fatal injuries in private construction in 2012, which translates to 9.5 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers. Transportation/warehousing was in second place, with 677 deaths.

Overall workplace fatalities in the U.S. decreased by 6 percent from from 2011 to 2012 while the death rate per 100,000 of 3.2 declined from 3.5 in 2011. Last year, 4,383 workers died from work-related injuries, down from a final count of 4,693 fatal work injuries in 2011.

"I am greatly encouraged by the reduction in workplace fatalities, even in a growing economy,” said newly minted Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “Through collaborative education and outreach efforts, and effective law enforcement, these numbers indicate that we are absolutely moving in the right direction.”

Still, Perez said the U.S. must do better.

“Job gains in oil and gas and construction have come with more fatalities, and that is unacceptable. That's why OSHA has undertaken a number of outreach and educational initiatives, including a campaign to prevent falls in construction and the National Voluntary Stand Down of U.S. Onshore Oil and Gas Exploration and Production, co-sponsored by oil and gas industry employers and planned for Nov. 14.”