Data reveals 26 percent increase in fatal work-related falls from 2011 to 2016

697 workers died in falls to a lower level in 2016

Posted May 9, 2018

As OSHA holds its National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction during the week of May 7-11, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) delved into the data from the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program. The BLS found that fatal work-related falls to a lower level increased 26 percent from 2011 to 2016.

In 2011, 533 workers died in falls to a lower level; in 2016, that number increased to 697. The data show that the number of fatal falls to a lower level rose each year starting in 2011 except for 2015. During the six-year period, there were 3,723 fatal falls to a lower level.

The BLS points out that more than half of the fatal falls to a lower level occurred in the private construction industry. Deaths from falls to a lower level in this industry increased from 255 workers in 2011 to 370 workers in 2016, a 45-percent increase. For all other industries combined, the increase was 10 percent.

The BLS also looked at the primary sources of falls to a lower level, which are the objects or surfaces from which workers fall. According to the BLS, falls from ladders were the most common sources of worker falls, with 836 fatal injuries involving falls from ladders. Falls from roofs accounted for 763 deaths.

The table below presents the data by source and height of fall from 2011 to 2016.

Height Ladders Roofs Vehicles Scaffolds, staging Machinery Trees Stairs, steps All other sources
Over 30 feet 29 127 62 93 81 81 4 181
26–30 feet 27 100 19 26 19 20 2 50
21–25 feet 59 130 16 43 14 12 3 45
16–20 feet 109 146 27 48 33 16 6 46
11–15 feet 145 151 49 50 23 6 14 93
6–10 feet 174 41 63 50 20 7 20 85
Under 6 feet 87 127 18 21 1 40 108
Height not specified 206 67 53 59 29 32 67 142

Fall Protection SolutionsJ. J. Keller's fall protection solutions help your employees recognize the hazards of falling and keep them safe on the worksite.

 

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