Fact Sheet


One of every five workplace-related fatalities is a construction worker. The leading causes of death among construction workers are falls from elevations, motor vehicle crashes, electrocution, machines, and struck-by falling objects.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, during the period from 1980 through 1995, at least 17,000 construction workers died from injuries suffered on the job. Construction lost more workers to traumatic injury death than any other major industrial sector during this time period. Construction has the third highest rate of death by injury: 15.2 deaths per 100,000 workers.

Construction health and safety is divided into general concerns, heavy construction (bridges, tunnels, pile driving and structural steel), and road construction (building and maintenance, and traffic control)

NIOSH has published a number of Alerts on hazards that are faced by workers in the construction industry, which would apply to public entities doing their own construction or contracting with construction companies to do work for their entity. Public entities would be wise to check that these companies take proper safety precautions and provide proper insurance for their workers.

The Alerts provide brief overviews of the problems, present case descriptions of fatal incidents, outline relevant safety standards and practices, and summarize NIOSH recommendations for prevention.

Carbon Monoxide
Confined Spaces
Cranes and Overhead Power Lines
Electrical Energy
Ladders and Overhead Power Lines
Motor Vehicles
Skid Steer Loaders
Skylights and Roof Openings
Telecommunication Towers
Trench Cave-Ins

Some other construction issues to consider:


Policies, procedures, training and supervision are the best strategies a public entity can use to keep employees safe and healthy in the workplace. Since there are so many aspects to construction health and safety, each entity needs to identify what is priority for its workers.

There is wealth of detailed information for specific topics on both the OSHA Technical Links to Safety and Health Topics, alphabetical by topic with links and the NIOSH Workplace Training and Health Topics, an alphabetical listing with links.

OSHA provides many eTools on various construction topics. These tools allow the user to get training and in some cases customize policies for their entities. The eTools are listed below and are listed with links on the OSHA homepage, www.osha.gov.


A Guide to Scaffold Use in the Construction Industry, OSHA 3150, 2002 (Revised)

Analysis of Construction Fatalities—The OSHA Data Base 1985-1989

Building Safer Highway Work Zones: Measures to Prevent Worker Injuries from Vehicles and Equipment, NIOSH Pub. No.2001-128, 2001

elaws—Lead in Construction Advisor OSHA developed this interactive expert system to help construction employers, whose workers may be exposed to lead, understand and comply with OSHA’s regulations regarding occupational exposure to lead.

Electronic Library of Construction Safety and Health eLCosh, NIOSH, The Center to Protect Workers’ Rights

Excavations, OSHA 2226, 2002 revised

Falls From Elevation, NIOSH

Fall Protection in Construction, OSHA 3146, 1998 revised

Ground Fault Protection on Construction Sites, OSHA 3007, 1998 revised

Highway Work Zones, NIOSH

Lead in Construction, OSHA 3142-09R, 2003

Lead Poisoning, National Safety Council Fact Sheet

Machine Safety, NIOSH

OSH Answers: Construction Worker—General, Canadian Centre for Occupational Safety and Health

OSH Answers: Workplace Housekeeping—Checklist for Construction Sites, Canadian Centre for Occupational Safety and Health

OSHA Asbestos Advisor 2.0

OSHA Assistance for the Construction Industry

OSHA Construction eTool

OSHA Construction eTool, Cave-Ins

OSHA Construction eTool, Electrical Incidents

OSHA Construction eTool, Falls

OSHA, Construction eTool: Scaffolding

OSHA Construction eTool, Struck-By

OSHA Construction Resource Manual “Table of Contents

OSHA Fact Sheet: Working Outdoors

OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Construction—Concrete and Masonry

OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Construction—Electrical

OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Construction—Fall Protection

OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Construction—Fire Safety

OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Construction—Hand and Power Tools

OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Construction—Motor Vehicle Safety

OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Construction—Noise and Hearing Conservation

OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Construction—Personal Protective Equipment

OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Construction—Power Transmission and Distribution

OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Construction—Scaffolding

OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Construction—Silica

OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Construction—Trenching and Excavation

OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Construction—Walking/Work Surfaces

OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Construction—Welding and Brazing

OSHA Selected Construction Regulations for the Home Building Industry, 1997

OSHA Silica Advisor eTool

Protecting Yourself in the Sun, OSHA 3166-06R, 2003

Providing Safety and Health Protection for a Diverse Construction Workforce:
Issues and Ideas

Safeguarding Equipment and Protecting Workers from Amputations, Small Business Safety and Health Management Series, OSHA 3170, 2001

Stairways and Ladders, A Guide to OSHA Rules, OSHA 3124-12R, 2003

Trench Safety Quick Card, OSHA 3197-04N-04, 2004

Underground Construction (Tunneling), OSHA 3115-06R, 2003