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Accid Anal Prev. 1997 Sep;29(5):613-26.

Motor vehicle fatalities in the United States construction industry.

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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Safety Research, Morgantown, WV 26505, USA.


A death certificate-based surveillance system was used to identify 2144 work-related motor vehicle fatalities among civilian workers in the United States construction industry over the years 1980-92. Construction workers were twice as likely to be killed by a motor vehicle as the average worker, with an annual crude mortality rate of 2.3/100,000 workers. Injury prevention efforts in construction have had limited effect on motor vehicle-related deaths, with death rates falling by only 11% during the 13-year period, compared with 43% for falls, 54% for electrocutions and 48% for machinery. In all industries combined, motor vehicle fatality rates dropped by 47%. The largest proportion of motor vehicle deaths (40%) occurred among pedestrians, with construction accounting for more than one-fourth of all pedestrian deaths. A minimum of 54 (6%) of these pedestrian fatalities were flaggers or surveyors. Flaggers accounted for half the 34 pedestrian fatalities among women, compared with only 3% among men. Along with previous studies and recent trends in the amount and type of road construction, these results underscore the need for better traffic control management in construction work areas to reduce pedestrian fatalities. As the second leading cause of traumatic death in construction, with an annual average share of 15% of the total deaths, exceeded only by falls, prevention of work-related motor vehicle research should become a greater priority in the construction industry.

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