Year of Publication



Public Health

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

David Mannino, MD

Committee Member

Wayne Sanderson, PhD, MS

Committee Member

Nancy e. Johnson, DrPH, MSPH


Background: The construction industry involves many hazards and accounts for the greatest number of work related fatalities in the United States. The objective of this study was to characterize the demographics of people involved in construction fatalities and the causes of these fatalities in Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia between 2005 and 2014.

Methods: The Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupation Injuries (CFOI) was the source of data about the number of fatalities, rates and characteristics about fatalities for each state. The U.S. Census Bureau was also used to find the average annual construction population for each state each year. This information was used to evaluate construction fatality trends over the 10 year period. The characteristics that were looked at were employee status, gender, age, race, event or exposure, part of body, worker activity and nature of the fatality.

Results: The construction population and fatalities where both were rising from 2005 to 2007 and then sharply decreased in 2008 and 2009 before they began to slightly rise each year subsequently but not reaching 2007 levels. There was a total of 476 fatalities for all three states over the 10 year period. The fatalities mostly consisted of wage and salary workers (81.3%) as opposed to self-employed workers. Most of the fatalities involved males (99.2%), between 45 and 54 year olds (27.7%) and were white (79.2%). Falls were the event leading to most fatalities (36.6). Most fatalities involved multiple parts of the body (49.8%). Constructing, repairing and cleaning were the activities most involved with the fatalities (54.8%) and multiple traumatic injuries were the nature of most fatalities (49.2%).

Conclusions: This study showed similar results as other studies in regards to people involved in construction fatalities and the events leading to these fatalities. Having a good understanding of how construction fatalities occur and characteristics of the people most likely to be involved can help guide future research in prevention and training.

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