Being a construction worker is one of the most dangerous careers that Illinoisans can undertake. In fact, between 2002 and 2012, nearly one-fifth of all U.S. workplace fatalities were in the construction industry. That number comes from data gathered from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There was some good news in that the number of construction deaths dropped from 2007 to 2012. Of course one death is one too many, so it’s worth taking a deeper look at construction fatalities.

In 2012, the largest number of deaths occurred in Texas. That state had 105 deaths that year. Illinois was in the group that had between six and 20 fatalities.

When we look at the causes of construction deaths, it turns out that over half (57 percent) of construction fatalities involve just four causes.

Falls: 36 percentBeing struck by objects: 10 percentElectrocution: 9 percentCaught between objects: 2 percent

Of course, there are different types of construction. The percentage of deaths varied considerably among these types:

Specialty trade: 48 percentEngineering: 17 percentBuilding: 16 percentEquipment: 12 percentFinishing: 7 percent

Even when construction workers are “lucky” enough not to be killed in accidents, many of the same accidents that cause fatalities can result in disabling injuries. Some of these injuries are permanently disabling, requiring a lifetime of care. They can leave a person unable to work. That’s why it’s essential for Illinois workers to get the workers’ compensation they deserve and that they need to heal and to care for themselves and their families.

Source: EHS Today, “Fatal Four: Safety in the Construction Industry,” accessed Nov. 20, 2015