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Jump in fatal construction accident rate prompts questions

The number of fatalities in the construction industry in the United States increased dramatically in 2012, when about 9.9 people per 100,000 workers in the industry died. In 2011, the rate was only 9.1 per 100,000 workers. The rise in these deaths have many people wondering why the construction industry has a sudden fatal accident problem.

One of the astounding anomalies in this area is the state of North Dakota, which has a fatality rate roughly 10 times as much as the national rate. It appears that a huge boom in the energy sector is driving this rise in fatalities. With fracking and other energy industries growing, there are inevitably many rural areas that are experiencing a boom in population -- and thus a boom in construction.

School, housing, public facilities, commercial facilities: all of these things come hand in hand with this boom in the energy sector.

As great as this may seem, the fatal accident rate shows that sometimes an economic boom isn't always a good thing. There are workers in the construction industry who are paying the ultimate price so that cities can grow and families can move to their new homes.

This is part of the expansion of our society. It happens -- and mistakes on construction sites are going to happen. However, we should be doing everything in our power to prevent these construction accidents from happening. And then when they do happen, necessary measures need to be taken to ensure that the injured worker or his or her loved ones receive the financial aid -- such as workers' compensation -- that they deserve.

Source: Business Insurance, "Construction growth brings increase in number of worker fatalities," Stephanie Goldberg, July 6, 2014

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