Work-related deaths are declining in Colorado, except in the private construction industry

An ambulance screams down Speer on a snowy evening. Nov. 17, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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An ambulance screams down Speer on a snowy evening. Nov. 17, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) snow; cowx; weather; denver; winter; snow; kevinjbeaty; colorado; denverite;
An ambulance screams down Speer on a snowy evening. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Work-related fatalities are once again declining in Colorado. According to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, deaths dipped to 75 in 2015, after a rebound in 2014.

Despite the good news, fatalities in the private construction industry actually increased 62 percent in 2015, to a total of 21 deaths. The last time rates were this high was 2008, when total work-related deaths totaled 105, with 23 from private construction.

Transportation continues to lead the pack in workplace mortality. Of the 75 total deaths, 34 came from falls, slips, trips, contact with equipment or violence on-the-job in transportation-related industries. But, if you’re thinking RTD, think again.

Only eight total deaths were recorded among government employees in 2015. The remaining came from private industry workers on-the-job in air, rail, truck and ground passenger transportation, sightseeing, courier and messenger services, as well as warehousing and storage.

And while the majority of fatalities still occur in transportation, construction now holds the title for fastest growing work-related deaths.

Why so many?

The construction industry has grown, both nationwide and in Colorado. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry added about 6,500 jobs from 2014 to 2015 — the same period for which fatality data is available.

And along with a rising workforce, comes rising fatalities, according to Roberta Smith, Occupational Health Program manager at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Unfortunately, it’s as simple as that.

Multimedia business & healthcare reporter Chloe Aiello can be reached via email at caiello@denverite.com or twitter.com/chlobo_ilo.

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