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Excellent Trend: Fatality Rates Improving Dramatically

Nationally the number of construction fatalities declined by nearly 10 percent between 2009 and 2010 and by almost 40 percent during the past five years according to an analysis of new federal data prepared by AGC of America. Association officials pointed to an industry-wide commitment to improving workplace safety as a key reason for the safety improvements.

“This industry has made safety a top priority in good times and bad and the new data shows those efforts are helping save lives” said Stephen E. Sandherr the association’s chief executive officer. “But even one fatality is too many which is why this data also serves as a somber reminder of the work that still needs to be done.”

In Washington State the trend is even better.

“The positive national trends demonstrated in this new report provide the opportunity to review construction safety trends in Washington State and what we see is that we’re performing significantly better than the national average” said Mandi Kime Safety Director for the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Washington. “From our peak construction employment year of 2007 through 2010 we’ve achieved a 63 percent reduction in the number of construction industry fatalities even though construction employment fell only 35 percent during that time period. Plus there have been only two construction workplace fatalities so far in 2011. Washington State has long been a national leader in workplace safety and these numbers bear that out.”

Kime notes the commercial construction industry’s solid working relationship with workers and the state’s Department of Labor and Industries (L&I). “We work hard to establish safety regulations that are effective and workable” she said. “Commercial construction employers in this state are progressive with regard to their approach to jobsite safety with many establishing safety policies and practices that exceed state requirements.”

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