Number of occupational accidents decreased but accident frequency rose in the construction industry in 2022

There were slightly more than 13 000 occupational accidents involving an employee in the construction industry last year. The number fell by approximately one per cent from the year before. However, the frequency of occupational accidents increased because the number of hours worked decreased more than the number of accidents.

Last year, the frequency of accidents in the construction industry was 59,7 occupational accidents per one million hours at work. The frequency fell for many years and reached a low of 55,1 in 2020, but then started to rise again.

The increase in frequency is affected by the decline in the number of hours worked in the sector, among other things. The number of working hours in the construction industry has decreased by approximately 14 % from 2018 to last year.

Half of accidents caused by a sharp object, stumbling or falling

Stumbling and falling as well as being hit by a cutting or sharp object both accounted for approximately one quarter of all occupational accidents in the construction industry last year.

Most often, falls occur from relatively low places such as ladders or scaffolding, but high falls still take place as well. Typically, a fall causes an injury to a lower limb (35%), while multiple parts of the body are injured in 15 % of cases.

“Occupational accidents caused by carrying loads by hand have decreased to about 10 per cent. Just 20 years ago, nearly one fifth of occupational accidents in the construction industry occurred when handling loads. The shift indicates a change in the physical strain of work in the construction industry”, says database analyst Janne Sysi-Aho.

Employees from other sectors often had occupational accidents at construction sites

There are also employees from sectors other than the construction industry working on construction sites. Employees from other sectors had nearly 4 700 occupational accidents on construction sites last year, which was approximately 7 % more than in 2021.

Of the employees from other sectors who had occupational accidents on construction sites, 36 % were temporary agency workers.

“On construction sites of different sizes, there are installers doing installation work and drivers bringing in materials, for example. The most important thing in terms of safety is that the safety of the construction site is managed as a whole, taking into account everyone who works on and visits the site”, Sysi-Aho emphasises.

Upcoming statistical publications on occupational accidents

The Finnish Workers’ Compensation Center will publish industry-specific analyses of occupational accident statistics for 2022 during the early summer.

The projection of the number of occupational accidents for this year will be published in September–October 2023.

The occupational accident statistics for 2022 were published at the end of March 2023.