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Report released on construction worker fatalities

On April 6, the Associated General Contractors of America released a report on construction industry fatalities. The reports contain information that could help keep construction workers in Minnesota and throughout the country safer. For example, one of the findings was that smaller construction firms had a significantly higher rate of fatalities than larger firms. Almost half of all fatalities happened at firms with fewer than 10 employees. This could be because smaller firms lack a comprehensive safety program and drug testing. They may also attract workers with less experience.

Younger workers are less prone to fatalities. The report found that there was a steady increase in fatalities from the age of 35 and that fatalities peaked for workers over 64. This suggests that experience may not always correlate with safety and that companies may need to adjust their safety training with the needs of older workers in mind. In contrast, the fatality rate among Hispanic workers is proportional to their representation in the industry. In the past, Hispanic workers represented a disproportionate number of fatalities, so this suggests the industry has made effective changes.

Noon is the most common time for fatalities, and July and August the most common months. Slips, trips and falls are the most common causes of fatal accidents, and specialty industries are where they are most likely.

Nonfatal construction workers' accidents can still leave workers unable to work for a significant amount of time or permanently. Workers' compensation can be a crucial benefit for workers at such a vulnerable time. However, an employee may be unsure about their rights around workers' compensation, or they might even face retaliation from an employer for applying for compensation. An injured worker might want to talk to an attorney about their rights and about preparing workers' compensation paperwork.

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