Risk differences in fatal occupational injuries among construction laborers in the United States, 1980-1992

J Occup Environ Med. 1997 Sep;39(9):832-43. doi: 10.1097/00043764-199709000-00006.


Over 3700 occupational fatalities among all US construction laborers 16 years of age and older during 1980-1992 were analyzed from death certificates to identify differences in mortality rates, higher risk groups, and leading causes of death to be targeted for prevention and monitored over time. Female laborers had an average fatality rate (17.4 deaths/100,000 workers) similar to that for all male construction workers (17.3 deaths/100,000 workers), and ten times higher than for all female construction workers. On average, nonwhite laborers had 27% greater mortality than white laborers. Women were at a higher risk (10.8 deaths/100,000 workers) for motor vehicle injury than were men (6.1 deaths/100,000 workers). The smallest percentage annual decline in cause-specific mortality rates was from motor vehicle for construction laborers (0.1%) and all construction workers (1.4%). Environmental-related fatality rates for laborers rose an average of 0.8% annually. The average years of potential life lost (to age 65) ranged from 27.4 years from explosion to 34.3 years from electrocution. Prevention measures aimed at addressing the highest risk areas, along with research needs, are discussed. With over a quarter of construction fatalities occurring among laborers, occupational injury research on laborers should become a priority.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Cause of Death
  • Ethnicity
  • Facility Design and Construction
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality*
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control
  • Occupations
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality*
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control